Apple is sitting on a fire: The US threatens to punish its biggest supplier, TSMC, like Huawei

Tram Ho

Washington has increased pressure on the world’s largest chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) to produce military-used chips in the United States. The purpose of this is to ensure that TSMC can produce devices with high security without any impact from China.

TSMC is currently the manufacturer of computer chips used in the US F35 fighter line and is a key chip supplier of Apple. So this is the next name after Chinese telecom company Huawei received the same request from the US.

Apple như ngồi trên đống lửa: Mỹ dọa sẽ trừng phạt nhà cung ứng lớn nhất của hãng là TSMC như Huawei - Ảnh 1.

But in the context that Beijing and Washington are both technologically and militarily aggressive, TSMC is in a difficult position, under direct pressure from the United States forcing them to make tough decisions about transferring assets. exported to the United States or subject to punishment before the November presidential election.

Despite signs of optimism that Washington and Beijing could come to an initial trade agreement this week, ending two years of trade tensions. On the other hand, the pressure on TSMC shows that the global technology supply chain is still having problems with security concerns from the US.

The US government wants the chips used in military projects to be manufactured in the United States due to security concerns. It seems that the US will not yield to this issue, ” a Taiwanese official said. to speak.

TSMC holds 50% of the world’s chip manufacturing market share, supplying computer chips to Huawei and U.S. giants such as Google, Qualcomm and Intel. The company also supplies high-end military chips to Xilinx, which supplies chips for F35 fighters and satellites. Many of its products are found in top secret US military projects.

In fact, Washington has always been wary of Chinese technologies. An industry insider revealed that Ian Steff, the US Vice Minister of Commerce last month, had a third visit to Taiwan in 2019 to meet TSMC founder Morris Chang and chairman Mark Liu.

“We recognize that many tech company leaders and US government officials are concerned about their dependence on TSMC and the safety of the military industry’s supply chain.

“That’s why the US insists that TSMC may be on their side to make chips somewhere else other than Taiwan. They are concerned that the current facilities might be at risk to China.” , Director of Taiwan National Defense and Security Academy Su Tze-yun commented.

US charges have long been concerned about security risks and last year they even contacted a series of TSMC customers warning them about this issue. In addition, the fact that Huawei is a TSMC customer makes the problem even more serious.

Industry sources say the US administration will increase sanctions on Huawei right this year.

Last year, Huawei asked TSMC to produce more chips for them at a $ 3 billion factory in Nanning – accounting for 10% of TSMC’s revenue.

“Before the next US presidential election, TSMC will have to respond quickly to urgent requests from US customers under pressure from the US government to ensure that the chips will not be problematic. security, or better yet, production in the US “.

TSMC repeatedly said that it could build or buy a factory in the US to meet the requirements. However, such a thing will need to be carefully considered as it is related to higher operating costs.

“We have never rejected the idea of ​​building or acquiring a factory in the US but at the moment there is no sure plan,” TSMC representatives said.

“The more chaotic the world, the more TSMC becomes a central place that all political forces want to control to control,” said Morris Chang, TSMC founder.


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Source : Genk