Taiwan’s chip industry offers opportunities to attain self-sufficiency
Island nation of around 24 million people sitting across Taiwan Strait has seen steep yet stable growth in its chip industry
By Satuk Bugra Kutlugun
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AA) – With the internet playing a non-negotiable role in people’s daily lives, Taiwan’s high-tech semiconductor industry has set a goal to build capacity to attain self-sufficiency.
Disruptions in supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic brought the significance of the chip industry to the fore as demand for smartphones, computers and laptops increased. At the same time, people were locked in their homes.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC, headquartered in Hsinchu Science Park, has attracted intense interest in recent times as the West began shifting supply chains from China across the Taiwan Strait.
“To attain self-sufficiency, countries across the globe can benefit in six core strategic industries, including the information and digital sector, strategic stockpile, national defense, health, cybersecurity, and green and renewable energy,” Taiwanese officials told a visiting group of international journalists in Taipei.
While TSMC also started investing in the US, the Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (TSRI) laid down plans to train international researchers and scholars.
“With training, service, research and development and innovation as the basis, we aim to fill the gap between academia and industry,” said Scott Huang, associate researcher Hsinchu Science Park Bureau of the National Science and Technology Council, who works at TSRI.
According to Huang, “the smaller the gap between the two, the better it is for high-quality production, as it saves time, resources and energy.”
TSRI was founded in 2019 and has around 350 members, besides PhD scholars and researchers.
Officials at its headquarters in Hsinchu said 80% of its funding comes from the government while the rest is met externally through projects.
It has a separate branch in Tainan along the island nation’s southwest coast.
Huang said that with semiconductors, electric vehicles and 5G as key industries, “We emphasize product value and competitiveness.”
“By developing core technologies, we aim to enhance the industrial cluster effect,” Huang added.
With its unprecedented successes over the last several decades, Taiwan’s influence in training international scholars and technocrats is rising.
It supports 124 international students in integrated circuit (IC) design and manufacturing.
Data shows that most hail from India, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.
In the material analysis environment, an official working at TSRI said, “Our semiconductor manufacturing and design training model is based on three things: on-site courses, practical training and e-learning.”
Data shared by the official showed that Taiwan’s semiconductor industry had attracted over $99 billion in investments until last month.
The data also showed that 143,837 jobs were created, while over the last several decades, the applications of 1,390 enterprises have been approved.
Amid supply-chain uncertainty, TSRI pointed out, “the focus has shifted to invite back overseas Taiwanese to invest in this sector besides boosting domestic businesses.”
The progress in the industry is well reflected in Taiwan’s semiconductor manufacturing production value, which rose by 6.93% to $573 billion last year and created around 2,869,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector alone.
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