back to article TSMC’s CEO is not pleased with the growing US-China rift

As TSMC plans to spend $40 billion to build two chip manufacturing plants in the US, the Asian foundry giant's CEO is bemoaning the way America's growing rift with China has messed with the global semiconductor industry. In a speech at a recent industry event, CC Wei echoed the statement earlier this month by TSMC founder …

  1. martinusher Silver badge

    Growing Rift With China?

    This turn of phrase gives the impression that China and the US are equal parties to any dispute. What is really happening is that we -- the US -- have unilaterally introduced sanctions, tariffs and other actions and China has (eventually) reacted to them. Its always important to remember the sequence because once the wordsmiths get hold of a sequence of events then the narrative is mashed and molded into a sequence that suits a particular country's narrative.

    The rift is entirely one sided and artificial which is why TSMC's CEO is not happy about the situation. A few years ago he was enjoying a robust (and growing) trade with China with plenty of interaction between the two countries. Then we -- the US -- decided to go Cold War 2. I'm not happy about this for probably the same reasons. There will always be trade and other disputes between countries biut there are forums for sorting them out. Going Cold War has not only ratheted up Chinese nationalism with its associated tensions but its also causing China to revisit its build/buy balance with the result that companies like TSMC is going to face some unwelcome competition in the future.

    We did the same thing with Russia. The "Special Military Operation" (aka "war") that's going on in Ukraine at the moment tends to coveniently overshadow the fact that we have been steadily ratcheting up sanctions and trade barriers (and militarizing their neighbors). Sooner or later something was going to break. We might be doing OK in the US at the moment but we've not only created significant instability in Euroipe but done quite a bit of economic damage to its nations (fine by us, of course -- we profit from their loss). This isn't going to end well for anyone, but then we're not the ones suffering so what do we care?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Growing Rift With China?

      Why are you calling the "Special Military Operation" a "war"? Has freedom gone to your head?

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Growing Rift With China?

        I see that the growing Americanization of the UK seems to have resulted in the suppression of their irony gene.

        (As far as the "Putin line about being forced to do whatever" this has been noticed elsewhere. Its just that here in the US we're so used to prodding countries that can't fight back effectively that when a country does react we end up almost in a state of shock. We're now in full on 'bait China' mode -- the subject of this piece -- and I suspect the Chinese, too, will react which will impact us negatively. Its likely they'll be a bit smarter about how they do it.)

      2. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Growing Rift With China?

        How the CCP can start to "improve relations:"

        Return Tibet and supply money to rebuild every shattered temple they destroyed.

        Allow the Dali Llama to return to Tibet.

        Establish free and democratic elections.

        Respect international trademark laws.

        Drop COVID restrictions.

        Free political and religious prisoners.

        Recognize Taiwan's independence.

        Get out of the South China Sea and destroy all military outposts there.

        Stop buying shipping ports that establish a transport monopoly in Europe.

        Rescind the law making it illegal to criticize the government.

        Stop concentration camps full of Urghurs.

        Put up posters of Winnie the Pooh everywhere.

        Do that, then we'll talk about sanctions being lifted.

        1. TheInstigator Bronze badge

          Re: Growing Rift With China?

          These are all excellent ideas and you forgot another a few:

          1) Let every foreign country and company do whatever they want in China and just take it like a *****

          2) Let Unit 731 re-establish themselves in China to further knowledge about humans and allow experimentation on Chinese only - cause all other human beings are more valuable .. and the Chinese aren't even really human - right?

          3) CCP must step down from power

          Have I corrected your list for you?

          I've got a comparable suggestion to your first point - why doesn't America hand back the USA to the Native Americans?

          As I've always said - no country is perfect - and it's easy to point fingers at other countries - but when you have benefitted from exactly the actions that you are bemoaning other countries are doing it's smacks of hypocrisy

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Growing Rift With China?

      Really, you're going to accept the Putin line that the US forced Russia to attack Ukraine? You're listening to too much Fox News and Putin's favorite apparatchik Sean Hannity.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Growing Rift With China?

        "the Putin line that the US forced Russia to attack Ukraine"

        The US absolutely did not force Russia to attack Ukraine. I don't even buy the 'provocation' line.

        Having said that, the US has a long and messy history of poking it's nose in anywhere it can get it's messy fingers to grab more "influence" (= trade = money/power). Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and large chunks of SE Asia, Latin America and the Middle East are in various states of disarray following US intervention in the last 50-60-odd years. Quite possibly these places could also have been in various states of disarray without US intervention, but it's difficult to identify even one proper 'success story' from the trillions spent and hundreds of thousands killed.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Growing Rift With China?

      "We did the same thing with Russia. The "Special Military Operation" (aka "war") that's going on in Ukraine at the moment tends to coveniently overshadow the fact that we have been steadily ratcheting up sanctions and trade barriers (and militarizing their neighbors)."

      Except Russia invaded Crimea before sanctions took place. Explain that.

      Putin also kicked off the Second Chechen War after having the FSB put bombs in five of their own apartment blocks (four of which detonated) as justification.

      Warm and cuddly Putin has coordinated assassinations of political rivals with Polonium and nerve agents along with an unbelievable "suicide" rate among oligarchs who oppose him.

      So, in the end, you are supporting a tyrant who cares little for his own people and will say anything to justify his own grab for power.

      There's been a few more conflicts you can read about yourself.

      1. TheInstigator Bronze badge

        Re: Growing Rift With China?

        As I've always said - all countries (East & West) have done bad things - but I think there are definitely ways and actions countries can follow which make it easier to get along with other countries.

        America has deliberately tried to instigate issues in order to further their own interests and to ensure the continued hegemony of the West and they haven't been subtle about it either - in some ways you can consider it as them trying to create a new Empire (I won't call it democracy as what country invades, deposes and instigates a civil war in another country and calls itself a democracy?) without any internationally recognised (i.e. UN) mandate as the US has done in Iraq?

        After WW2, they (via the UN) pretty much banned Japan's military from having an offensive capability, yet are now building up their "defensive" compability - without any international mandate - reading between the lines this is to help "contain" China and in following with the US rhetoric to use regional partners in Asia to perform exactly that action.

        For this reason I think it's best to just have another World War - duke it out the old fashioned way and see who wins - that's the "correct" way - I mean - it's always worked in the past right? ;)

  2. ChoHag Silver badge

    You can't have it both ways

    TSMC's chairman recently said such an action would render the factories inoperable due to their reliance on global supply chains.


    But the scariest thing is that mutual trust and cooperation among countries is beginning to weaken,

    1. TheInstigator Bronze badge

      Re: You can't have it both ways

      "But the scariest thing is that mutual trust and cooperation among countries is beginning to weaken,"

      This is a GOOD thing - it means that every country will be looking out for themselves and no longer use China as a manufacturing hub - this will in turn increase jobs in their country and they won't be able to bemoan the poor manufacturing standards of stuff China makes ...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free markets?

    What’s he on about? Last I checked, China wasn’t a “free market”. They buy around the globe but we can’t invest in their market. They don’t have a free, open Internet, just a highly monitored, restricted one. What on earth is he prattling on about?

    Give me the BoJos and the Trumps of the day. At least when we are bored by their shenanigans, we can turf them out. Try that with Xi Jingping?

  4. imanidiot Silver badge

    I would have thought TSMC (and Taiwan in general) would have been amongst those least favourable to letting China get it's hands on high tech litho and getting more global power. Taiwan exists because of the threat of the US intervening if the one China decides to invade the other. As it stands without the US it's unlikely Taiwan would exist.

    1. TheInstigator Bronze badge

      My take is that once TSMC helps the US build a few cutting edge chip fabs, the US will drop them like a hot sack of s*** and let China invade Taiwan if they decide to - and their Taiwanese factory will suddenly get a Stuxnet type worm destroy all newly made chips ...

      I might be wrong - but let's see what happens - history - at least the future which has not yet happened - tells no lies.

  5. Kev18999

    The true reason for US vs China rift is the US businesses want to block China from chip design and fab business. China will kill Intel and Qualcomm if it happens. TSMC knows how to play China so they know that it's a matter of time when China gains the tech and will soon be a player.

  6. John 104


    Surely the rift has nothing to do with growing aggression from China in recent years, specifically targeted at Taiwan, China's human rights violations, or the nonsense zero COVID policy that has affected global supply chain, or the increase of ballistic missile testing from North Korea. Nah, these destabilizing events have NOTHING to do with sanctions and restricted trade. Nope, nothing.

    Whether it is Apple, Nvidia, etc., worrying about the ability to delivery products to market, or if it is US government suddenly realizing that the chips that power our military aren't made here in the US, both cases require some manner of action to secure either profit or security. Bringing production to US soil alleviates the issue of China and NK causing uncertainty in production and supply of these wares.

    When these countries leaders stop being ass holes to their own citizens, and stop with threats about invasion or nuclear attacks, and when they stop stealing technology then the sanctions will go away. Until then, no, they aren't going to be treated like equal players in the global trade market. Sorry not sorry.

  7. Peter 39

    "reliance on global supply chains"

    "... such an action would render the factories inoperable due to their reliance on global supply chains"

    If China invades Taiwan, the global supply chain will be the least of the things rendering the plants inoperable.

  8. TheInstigator Bronze badge

    At some point ....

    Taiwan's going to have to pick a side and not sit on the fence.

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