Chinese authorities should seize Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) if the US were to sanction Beijing in a similar way that it acted against Russia, a senior Chinese economist said in a transcript released yesterday.
“If the US and the West impose destructive sanctions on China like sanctions against Russia, we must recover Taiwan,” China Center for International Economic Exchanges Chen Wenling (陳文玲) said last month.
The research group is overseen by the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning agency.
Photo: Cheng, I-hwa, Bloomberg
“Especially in the reconstruction of the industrial chain and supply chain, we must seize TSMC,” Chen said in a speech at an event hosted by the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University, with the transcript posted online yesterday by the Guancha news Web site.
“They are speeding up the transfer to the US to build six factories there,” she said. “We must not let all the goals of the transfer be achieved.”
The comments are some of the most prominent so far showing how Taiwan’s chip industry is seen in Beijing as a key strategic asset in the intensifying rivalry between the world’s two largest economies.
TSMC is the world’s largest contract manufacturer of semiconductors, accounting for more than 50 percent of the global foundry market, which involves businesses purely making chips for other companies. Its customers include Apple Inc, which relies on Taiwanese chips for iPhones.
A TSMC representative declined to comment on Chen’s remarks.
Media reports have said that TSMC is to build six chip fabs in the US, but the company has announced just one so far. It has bought more land for possible construction.
It is unclear how the scenario Chen described would occur, given that the US and other nations only leveled harsh economic sanctions on Russia after it invaded Ukraine in February.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has sought to achieve tech self-sufficiency and tapped his economic czar, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (劉鶴), to shepherd a key initiative aimed at helping domestic chipmakers overcome US sanctions.
Those sanctions, which were initiated by the administration of former US president Donald Trump, are impeding longer-term efforts by chipmakers from migrating toward more advanced wafer fabrication technologies.
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