TSMC founder Maurice Chang supports China’s chip sanctions, but expresses skepticism about chip law

Looking forward: This week, the founder of the world’s leading chip maker commented on the geopolitical factors driving changes in the semiconductor industry. While he expressed support for recent US sanctions on Chinese chip imports, his comments mostly laid out issues based on whether they would benefit TSMC.

At the Commonwealth Semiconductor Forum, TSMC founder Maurice Chang join Discussion about retail and specialization in the chip industry this week. He supports recent US sanctions in China, but has expressed skepticism about the country’s efforts to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing.

chang estimates Chip making in China is about five or six years behind Taiwan and he credits US sanctions for keeping it that way. The sanctions, imposed over the past year, aim to restrict China’s development of supercomputers and other hardware for military purposes.

Last year, the United States imposed import restrictions on several Chinese companies and other entities with ties to the country’s military. The goal is to limit Chinese logic chips to 14nm nodes, DRAM to 18nm, and 3D NAND flash to 128 layers. The latest Chinese companies You approve it Direct dealings with US sellers are Loongson and Inspur. Recently, the Netherlands Agreed To reduce exports of bio-lithography equipment to China.

The sanctions have so far caused China’s chip imports in the first two months of 2023 to He falls by 27 percent – more than in all of 2022. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s exports rose by 18% in 2022.

Moreover, the Chip Act, which the United States signed into law last year, is supposed to facilitate the establishment of semiconductor factories in the United States to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign computers. However, Zhang is skeptical about the benefits of movement and the speed with which the desired effects might occur.

Chip Wars author Chris Miller spoke with the 91-year-old founder and noted that the semiconductor industry is diversifying among more countries to reduce interdependence. He believes the process will be slow, which Zhang attributes to some of the traits entrenched in a handful of countries.

Zhang believes that countries such as Taiwan, South Korea and Japan are advancing in industrialization because of the work cultures in those countries. On the contrary, he admits, the US has great designers (perhaps referring to those at Apple) because of their proximity to market needs.

In addition, Chang warns that splitting can increase costs and slow chip development in general. The TSMC founder credits falling semiconductor costs over the past several decades with their ubiquity today, highlighting how US production costs can double prices compared to Taiwan. Zhang also dislikes how Taiwan is excluded from “friendshoring,” a practice whereby countries direct their supply chains along with political and economic allies.

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