Apple chip maker TSMC says war between Taiwan and China would make everyone losers

A man walks past the TSMC logo at the company’s headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Sam Yeh | AFP | Getty Images

If China invaded Taiwan, the world’s most advanced chip factory would be “not operational,” TSMC chairman Mark Liu said in an English-language interview with CNN this week.

In the undated interview, Liu said that if Taiwan were invaded by China, the chipmaker’s factory would not be able to operate because it relies on global supply chains.

“No one can control TSMC by force. If you launch a military force or an invasion, you make the TSMC factory useless,” said Liu. “Because this is such an advanced manufacturing facility, it relies on a real-time connection to the outside world, to Europe, to Japan, to the US, from materials to chemicals to spare parts to engineering software and diagnostics.”

TSMC, the world’s most advanced chip maker, makes processors for US companies, including Apple and Qualcomm. It produces Apple’s A-series and M-series chips and has more than 50% of the world’s foundry semiconductor market.

The comments were aired as tensions between China and Taiwan have escalated in recent days as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the island.

“The war doesn’t bring winners, everyone’s losers,” Liu said.

Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Chips and Science Act, which sets aside billions of dollars in incentives to build chip factories on U.S. soil. President Biden is expected to sign the bill on Tuesday.

Supporters of the legislation say it is critical to national security to secure the supply of efficient and modern chips for US use if China were to invade or otherwise make it more difficult to manufacture chips in Taiwan.

While much of the bill’s incentives will go to US companies like Intel, TSMC is building a $12 billion chip factory in Arizona that could benefit from the subsidies.

Liu compared a potential conflict in Taiwan to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying that while the two conflicts are very different, the economic consequences for other countries would be similar. He encouraged political leaders to try to avoid war.

“Ukraine war is not good for either side, they are lose-lose-lose scenarios,” Liu said.

Liu said an invasion of the area would cause economic turmoil for China, Taiwan and western countries. He said TSMC sells chips to consumer-oriented Chinese companies that need the company’s services and supply of advanced computer chips.

“How can we avoid war? How can we keep the engine of the global economy humming, and let’s have fair competition,” said Liu.

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