TSMC chairman hits back at Intel CEO over Taiwan jab

12/03/2021 07:03 PM
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TSMC Chairman Mark Liu. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2021
TSMC Chairman Mark Liu. CNA photo Dec. 3, 2021

Taipei, Dec. 3 (CNA) There are probably not many people who believe that Taiwan is unstable because of geopolitical factors, the chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) said in Taipei on Friday in response to comments made by Intel's top executive.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech summit in California on Wednesday that the United States government should support a sustainable semiconductor supply chain in the U.S., in part because "Taiwan is not a stable place."

Citing China's recent sending of 27 military aircraft into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, Gelsinger asked "[does that] make you more comfortable or less if you're now dependent on Taiwan as the singular source of technology for the most critical aspect of our human existence and our national security and economy for the future."

Asked about the comment, TSMC Chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) said, "there's nothing that needs to be addressed. TSMC does not speak ill of other companies in the industry," and added there were probably not many people who believed Gelsinger's argument.

Geopolitical tensions, Liu said, may have a short-term impact, but he believed Taiwan could help create a brilliant decade for the global semiconductor industry, with the best technology and the best manufacturing ecosystem.

Liu said TSMC's construction of a chip plant in Arizona is on schedule and would likely begin mass production, mostly using 5-nanometer technology, during the first quarter of 2024.

The company also plans to begin building a factory in Japan's Kumamoto Prefecture in 2022 after announcing a partnership with Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp. in early November, he said.

Despite labor shortages that have recently emerged in Japan, the company is expecting to begin mass production using the 22nm and 28nm processes by the end of 2024, Liu said.

The TSMC chairman said global demand for semiconductors will continue to grow and forecast the production value of the global semiconductor sector to reach US$1 trillion in 2030, which will create US$3 trillion to US$4 trillion in value in the electronic product market.

(By Chang Chien-chung and Kay Liu)

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