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【2024 Semiconductor Forum】Taiwan and Japan: Semiconductor Cooperation Amid U.S.-China Rivalry

Researcher Dr. Jieh-min Wu of the Academia Sinica (photo: the DSET).

In a recent forum, Researcher Wu Jieh-min from Academia Sinica delved into the collaboration between Taiwan and Japan in the semiconductor industry against the backdrop of U.S.-China rivalry. Researcher Wu emphasized the importance of this cooperation for both countries’ geopolitical and economic security.

Wu noted that the competition between the U.S. and China has significantly impacted the global technology sector, ushering in a new era of globalization. The U.S. is restructuring its semiconductor supply chain to bring key manufacturing back home while diversifying advanced chip production. These changes present risks and challenges for global and local businesses.

Wu explained that Taiwan, a key player in the semiconductor industry, must navigate the geopolitical pressures arising from the U.S.-China rivalry. Taiwan’s economic security involves factors such as technology and investment scrutiny, export controls, and more. Moreover, social movements and democratic politics are crucial in Taiwan’s decision-making processes.

Wu detailed that Taiwan has played a pivotal role in global manufacturing over the past few decades, with Taiwanese capital and technology flowing into China and other emerging markets. However, as U.S.-China tensions escalate, Taiwanese companies are withdrawing from China and reallocating capital, which opens up opportunities for cooperation with Japan and other countries.

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer, has begun expanding its production bases globally, including in Japan and the U.S. This move underscores Taiwan’s strategic position in the global semiconductor supply chain. Wu highlighted that TSMC’s investment in Kumamoto, Japan, is about expanding chip production and an opportunity to reconfigure network relationships.

In the forum, Wu offered three suggestions: first, establish a multilateral framework for economic security to address geopolitical risks; second, ensure fair and equal cooperation, especially with the U.S.; third, foster global collaboration to prevent China’s military and political threats.

The forum highlighted the mutually beneficial cooperation between Taiwan and Japan in the semiconductor industry and suggested that this cooperation would play a significant role in the future of the global supply chain. Through multilateral collaboration and robust economic security frameworks, Taiwan and Japan can jointly tackle the challenges posed by the U.S.-China rivalry.

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