War has already broken out on chips between China and Taiwan

In the global context of the so-called “chip crunch”, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors that has affected various industrial sectors from automotive to communications, Taiwan is trying to protect its technological leadership, precisely in the field of chips, from attempts of infiltration of Mainland China. All against the backdrop of the rising geopolitical tension between the two countries, due to the Beijing regime’s claims on the island state off its coasts (on April 12, the Taiwanese army published a manual on civil protection for the first time, providing citizens indications on survival in a scenario of war with China).

Taiwan is among the largest chip makers in the world and has always made its technological leadership a strategic asset not only economically but also politically, focusing on innovation to defend its independence. Now the semiconductor sector, booming due to the surplus of demand, could become its Achilles heel and the way to Beijing to undermine the Taiwanese nation from within.

Taipei arms itself against espionage

In the face of this danger, as early as February, the Taiwanese government issued severe statements legislative reform proposals against economic espionageproviding for a punishment of up to 12 years in prison for those who contribute to obtaining key national technologies by “foreign enemy forces”.

At the beginning of the month, the Taiwanese authorities, as reported by “Reuters”, started thendages on about 100 Chinese companies suspected of trying to steal chip engineers from the island and relevant information, in violation of national regulations protecting the semiconductor industry.

One case under investigation involves a company purporting to be a Taiwanese data analytics company but which authorities believe is an arm of a Shanghai-based chip company, useful for sending chip technology information to China, according to sources. “Reuters”. Another company, Starblaze Technology, a Beijing-based integrated circuit (IC) design company, has been accused of operating a research and development center in the technology hub of Hsinchu, Taiwan, without approval. Lucy Chen, vice president of Taipei-based Isaiah Research, says Chinese chip companies last year came to court Taiwanese experts with salary offers two to three times the local levels.

Among the most sought-after employees are integrated circuit designers, who can work remotely. The recent investigations come in the wake of other similar previous cases and the extensive campaign to strengthen its industrial safety by Taiwan which had led, in addition to the new regulatory proposals in February, to the creation in December 2020 of an internal task force. of the Investigative Bureau of the Ministry of Justice to combat the illegal recruitment of experts.

Most recently, earlier this week, Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang returned to the point by stating at a cabinet meeting that the “red supply chain” – a reference to the colors of the Chinese Communist Party – is using various methods of “infiltrating” Taiwan and stealing its technology, and that for this reason has asked the Ministry of Justice to collaborate with Parliament so that the rules proposed in February are approved as quickly as possible. Statements that aroused the indignant reaction of Beijing, which accused Taiwan of defamation, deliberate attempts to intimidate Chinese companies and intensify the tension between the two countries.

“Recently, they have deliberately tried to defame and intimidate mainland companies in Taiwan, further escalating the confrontation across the Strait and causing trouble,” Taiwanese Affairs Bureau spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said at a news conference. “Such political manipulation it cannot hinder the general trend of trade and cooperation between compatriots on both sides of the strait and will only harm the vital interests of Taiwan’s business community and compatriots on the island. ”

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s chip giant TSMC just predicted today an increase of up to 37 percent in sales for the current quarter, yet another confirmation of the global need for semiconductors. A long-term “mega trend” as defined by TSMC CEO CC Wei. A possible escalation, even if only regulatory and economic, between the two countries, against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, in addition to leading to the risk of military accidents, would be a major blow to the already precarious conditions of world supply chains, exposing several sectors, the car in particular, to serious repercussions in the crucial moment of the ecological transition.

By Editor

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