Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMC said Tuesday its production of ever-smaller microchips will remain on the island, hopeful that the critical industry will have a “stabilising effect on global geopolitical conflicts”.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company -- whose clients include Apple and Intel -- controls more than half the world’s output of silicon wafers, used in everything from smartphones to cars and missiles.
Recent years have seen it navigating geopolitical tussles between the United States and China, with the countries facing off over a range of issues including technology, trade, and Taiwan -- the primary manufacturing base of the world’s semiconductors.
Alarm has spiked in recent months over the future of the semiconductor industry -- the lifeblood of the global economy -- if Taiwan were to be invaded by China, which considers the self-ruled island its own territory.
“I can assure everyone that for the three-nanometre, two-nanometre (chips), we will manufacture here in Taiwan,” said TSMC CEO CC Wei on Tuesday during a shareholder meeting in the northern city of Hsinchu.
TSMC’s three-nanometre and two-nanometre chips are expected to be among the world’s most advanced technologies -- to be used in high-performing devices as the global market pivots towards products deploying artificial intelligence, like ChatGPT.
Wei also said that an even smaller product -- the 1.4-nanometre chip -- will be manufactured “almost entirely in Taiwan”.
China has ramped up military and political pressures on Taiwan, strongly protesting against any diplomatic engagement with the island.