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【2024 Semiconductor Forum】Reorganizing the Global Semiconductor Supply Chain and the Prospects for Taiwan-Japan Cooperation

Dr. Guang-Lei Yang / Former R&D Director at TSMC (photo: the DSET).

The global semiconductor supply chain is at a critical juncture of reorganization, and Taiwan and Japan play key roles in this process. The second speaker of today’s event was Dr. Guang-Lei Yang, who delved into this topic and shared insights on collaboration and future prospects for both countries in the semiconductor industry.

Dr. Guang-Lei Yang, a professor at National Taiwan University and former R&D Director at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), emphasized Taiwan’s leading position in semiconductor manufacturing and Japan’s outstanding performance in equipment and materials. Taiwan’s wafer fabrication industry holds a crucial position in the global supply chain, especially in terms of wafer production and packaging. Meanwhile, Japan has a solid technological foundation in semiconductor equipment and materials.

As the world’s largest wafer foundry, TSMC has built a robust design ecosystem, providing strong support to its global clients. Dr. Yang recalled his experience joining TSMC and discussed how the company evolved from having almost no design ecosystem to dominating the global market. This ecosystem’s creation and development were made possible through global partnerships in regions like Taiwan and Japan.

Japan once held a leading position in the semiconductor industry, but its standing has weakened due to trade wars and internal structural issues. Dr. Yang highlighted the need for Japan to re-evaluate its role in the global semiconductor supply chain and to explore new opportunities through cooperation with other countries, including Taiwan.

Dr. Yang also addressed the geopolitical and economic challenges faced by the semiconductor industry, along with issues such as talent shortages. The semiconductor sector requires a diverse set of skills and perspectives, necessitating adjustments in education and talent development.

Dr. Yang particularly underscored the potential for collaboration between Japan and Taiwan in the semiconductor industry. Japan excels in materials and equipment, while Taiwan shines in logic chip manufacturing. Through cooperation, both countries can achieve a win-win scenario, further promoting the global semiconductor industry’s growth.

Looking ahead, the semiconductor industry will continue to face challenges and opportunities. The reorganization of the global supply chain will provide Taiwan and Japan with avenues for cooperation and development, potentially infusing the semiconductor sector with new energy and innovation.

Dr. Yang’s presentation sparked extensive discussion in Taiwanese media and offered a fresh perspective on the future of the global semiconductor industry. Through global partnerships and the establishment of a robust design ecosystem, Taiwan and Japan are expected to continue playing vital roles in the global semiconductor supply chain.

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