If strains between China and Taiwan continue to worsen, the Chinese Communist Party has a trump card: threatening to cut off the island’s exports, which include products from pivotal chipmaker and major Apple supplier TSMC.
Gina Chon for Reuters Breakingviews [Opinion]:
It’s possible that Americans will start to care about U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan once they find out the production of their new Toyota is risk.
[TSMC] plays an outsized role in the global economy, supplying Apple, Qualcomm, and other industrial giants with key components. It should be enough to make even Americans – who otherwise remain largely uninterested – nervous…
China, too, would face consequences if it were to make life difficult for TSMC. Mainland chipmakers, handset brands, electric vehicles and more rely on the $447 billion company’s cutting-edge technology just as much as their U.S. rivals. That makes it less likely read more that the People’s Republic will follow through.
Still, the strength of TSMC puts U.S. companies, who have many friends in Washington, on the back foot. The company’s chip factories, which are mostly in Taiwan, supply more than half of the contract chip-making market, including 80% of microcontrollers used in cars and 90% of the most advanced semiconductors, according to Bain & Company.