Power Play

Taiwan chips loom large in US-China tech war

Taiwan's outsized role in the semiconductor industry raises strategic questions of dependence on the island as a source of chips, which now power everything from smartphones to missiles. •Power Play is a weekly column that looks at various facets of US-China rivalry and its implications for Asia.

ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO

The world's biggest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), is on a roll.

Its fabrication plants are humming at full capacity and sales are at a record high, with last year's sales hitting NT$1.339 trillion (S$63 billion) - a 25.17 per cent increase over the previous year. Its largest market is the United States, making up 61 per cent of its total sales, while China comes in second with a 17.45 per cent share of its sales.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2021, with the headline 'Taiwan chips loom large in US-China tech war'. Subscribe