GT Voice: DPP's secessionist gambits increasingly threaten TSMC
Published: Aug 09, 2022 10:04 PM
TSMC File photo

TSMC File photo

As tensions escalated across the Taiwan Straits as a result of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's provocative visit to the island, Western public opinion has turned to whether the US-China tensions over the Taiwan question will lead to another global semiconductor crisis.

A recent report in the Chinese edition of the Wall Street Journal said the world has relied on Taiwan's cutting-edge semiconductor manufacturing, while CNN last week quoted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation's (TSMC) Chairman Mark Liu as touting in an interview that "Nobody can control TSMC by force."

There is no denying that Taiwan's semiconductor manufacturing sector, represented by TSMC, plays a significant role in the global semiconductor industrial chain by supplying around 60 percent of the world's microchips. 

However, that industrial dominance is no reason for any company to overestimate itself in the face of the inevitable historical trend that Taiwan will return to the motherland. Some people on the other side of the Taiwan Straits are so spoiled that they don't understand that the chips are actually nothing in the face of China's grand reunification task.

With a series of military drills around the Taiwan island, the Chinese mainland once again has shown to the world that China's national reunification and territorial integrity are paramount, overriding other issues. Semiconductor chips should not be deemed as an important leverage to impact the sacred reunification cause - the core interest of the people across the Taiwan Straits.

It is worth noting that while TSMC is the world's largest chip manufacturer, and the US is heavily dependent on TSMC. The Biden administration has already realized the potential peril of many American industrial lines relying on the Taiwan-based technology company. 

The US' 100-Day Supply Chain Review Report said: "The United States is heavily dependent on a single company - TSMC - for producing its leading-edge chips." The fact that only TSMC and Samsung can make the most advanced semiconductor microchips "puts at risk the ability to supply current and future [US] national security and critical infrastructure needs."

At present, the Biden administration is trying to boost its own semiconductor manufacturing capability through roping in major players in the chip supply chain and enacting a so-called "chips act" to subsidize America's domestic chip-making industry.

At this juncture, the growing tensions in the Taiwan Straits stirred up by the external interference forces and Taiwan secessionist elements may just give the mainstream US media a pretext to play up the geopolitical uncertainty surrounding Asia's chip-making sector, echoing the Biden administration's urge for investing heavily on the US' own chip industry.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority has long boasted TSMC' chip dominance as a trump card that can be used to increase the island's geopolitical importance and win support from the US and West. But their political calculation has largely overestimated the advantages of Taiwan's chip manufacturing sector. 

No company, not even TSMC, is immune from geopolitical tensions in the Taiwan Straits. Without a peaceful and stable environment, the chipmaker's global dominance will surely be weakened or even lost.

Now the rising tensions in the Taiwan Straits has led to louder Western hype that that the heavy dependence on TSMC is dangerous and needs to be reduced. Given the geopolitical uncertainty, if the US and West use the current opportunity to undercut Taiwan's semiconductor industry, and move to develop their own chip manufacturing sector, the DPP's chip card will end up losing its appeal.