Taiwan’s Tsai decries ‘rumours’ about chip investment risks

Taiwanese leader says her government is working hard to ensure investments in key industry continue.

Tsai Ing-wen speaks at a lectern which is decorated with greenery and flowers
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has insisted the self-ruled island is an excellent bet for investment despite China's sovereignty claims [File: Sam Yeh/AFP]

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has decried “rumours” about the risks of investing in the island’s key semiconductor industry, saying the government was working hard to ensure such investments continued.

Taiwan, home to the world’s largest contract chipmaker, TSMC, plays an outsized role in providing the chips used in everything from cars and smartphones to fighter jets. It is also a leading supplier to companies like Apple Inc.

But the Chinese military’s menacing of the island to assert Beijing’s sovereignty claims – especially after United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in August – is causing the chip industry to rethink the risks of investing in Taiwan.

Tsai, meeting Chief Operations Officer of ASML Holding, Frederic Schneider-Maunoury, praised the European company, a key equipment supplier to chip companies like TSMC, for its commitment to investing in the island.

“At this moment when the world is paying attention to and is concerned about Taiwan, I am very grateful to ASML for investing in Taiwan with concrete actions,” Tsai said, according to comments published by the presidential office late on Tuesday.

“I believe that this also discredits rumours of excessive speculation about Taiwan’s risk,” she added.

Rick Tsai, the chief executive of Taiwan’s largest chip designer MediaTek Inc, told the Reuters news agency this month that US-China tensions are pushing some manufacturers to talk about expanding part of their supply chain beyond the island, but added this was “incremental”.

ASML dominates the global market for lithography systems, which project light to create microscopic circuitry on chips. TSMC uses ASML’s EUV machines to manufacture its most advanced chips.

ASML did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting.

Tsai said investing in Taiwan was “definitely a very correct direction” and the government will continue to provide support.

“I also look forward to Taiwan’s continued deepening of cooperation with democratic allies to build a safer and more resilient global supply chain,” she added.

The presidential office statement cited Schneider-Maunoury as telling Tsai the company would continue to increase its investments in Taiwan, pointing out they already have five factories and employ more than 4,500 people on the island.

Source: Reuters