Chip war: The fight over the world’s most critical technology

The US and China may be locking horns today, but competition for semiconductor dominance has gone on for as long as chips have been made. 

TSMC announced in 2021 it would build a US$7 billion chip plant in Japan with Sony Group. PHOTO: AFP

The global network of companies that annually produces a trillion semiconductor chips at nanometer scale is a triumph of efficiency. It is also staggeringly vulnerable.

Taiwan, the world’s biggest producer of advanced chips which are used in everything from cars and smartphones to data centres and fighter jets, sits atop a fault line that as recently as 1999 produced an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale.

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