For its own 'well-being', China won’t invade Taiwan, says TSMC founder

Morris Chang warns that factories will be destroyed if war comes. Even if China should succeed in attacking the island, it will not control the company. TSMC holds 53 per cent of the global chip foundry market. New US ban on semiconductor exports is a blow to China.

Taipei (AsiaNews) – If China wants "economic well-being" it will not invade Taiwan, said Morris Chang (pictured), founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd (TSMC), the world's leading semiconductor manufacturer, a key component in all modern technologies.

Chang's reference is to the "silicon shield", the world's dependence on semiconductors production, especially the most advanced, which are made in Taiwan.

Speaking last Sunday on 60 Minutes, the flagship news programme of the US-based CBS network, he explained that the Chinese cannot seize and nationalise TSMC because this would imply a war and "everything would be destroyed".

China considers Taipei a "rebel province" to be reunified, even by force if necessary. Tension between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait flared in early August after Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited the island.

Several military analysts believe that communist China could attack Taiwan within five years when it will be at the peal of its power.

But, as current TSMC chairman Mark Liu noted, a Chinese attack would interrupt the company's activities, creating widespread economic disorder on both the island and the mainland.

Liu explains that TSMC cannot be controlled by force. Given the high sophistication of its output, its plants must be connected in real time with partners all over the world – above all the United States, Europe, and Japan – in order to guarantee raw materials, chemicals and spare parts.

TSMC controls about 53 per cent of the world foundry market (chip-making factories). Sales in China account for 10-12 per cent of its revenue – an important deterrent for many observers.

In the event of a conflict, any interruption in chip production in Taiwan would make China’s most advanced technologies, military included, useless.

Chinese microchip manufacturers cover only a fraction of the global industry, but 70 per cent of the domestic market.

Xi Jinping's attempt to achieve semiconductor self-sufficiency suffered a severe blow last Friday when the Biden administration imposed extensive restrictions on the sale to China of semiconductors made by US and foreign companies in the United States.

The Chinese are still dependent on hi-tech supplies from the United States, without which they cannot develop their own advanced semiconductor industry.