Array
(
    [content] => 
    [params] => Array
        (
            [0] => /forum/index.php?threads/taiwan-chip-industry-emerges-as-battlefront-in-usa-china-showdown.16507/
        )

    [addOns] => Array
        (
            [DL6/MLTP] => 13
            [Hampel/TimeZoneDebug] => 1000070
            [SV/ChangePostDate] => 2010200
            [SemiWiki/Newsletter] => 1000010
            [SemiWiki/WPMenu] => 1000010
            [SemiWiki/XPressExtend] => 1000010
            [ThemeHouse/XLink] => 1000970
            [ThemeHouse/XPress] => 1010570
            [XF] => 2021071
            [XFI] => 1050270
        )

    [wordpress] => /var/www/html
)

Taiwan Chip Industry Emerges as Battlefront in USA - China Showdown

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Definitely worth a read. It includes a real nice semiconductor history lesson:

In one of the Biden administration’s clearest statements on the need to resist a Chinese attack on Taiwan, a top Pentagon official told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Dec. 8 that the island’s semiconductors were a key reason why Taiwan’s security was “so important to the United States.”

In a March report to Congress, the bi-partisan National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence warned that the threat to TSMC exposed a glaring vulnerability. Taiwan produced the “vast majority of cutting-edge chips” a short distance from America’s “principal strategic competitor,” the report said. “If a potential adversary bests the United States in semiconductors over the long term or suddenly cuts off U.S. access to cutting-edge chips entirely, it could gain the upper hand in every domain of warfare.”

 

blueone

Active member
I'm not seeing how a conflict works out in China's favor, unless their sole purpose is to harm the US, Europe, and Japan. Once China takes Taiwan by force, how are they going to sustain Taiwan's chip companies? Chip-making machines are full of technologies from the three above-mentioned national sources. I'm sure all these countries would cut off Chinese trade of critical technologies immediately, and I doubt it would take very long to cripple TSMC and the rest of the Taiwanese semi industry.

I'm also not impressed by TSMC or Samsung building fabs in the US as a national security enabler. The Arizona TSMC fabs will still be very dependent on Taiwanese personnel, and all of the process development and debugging will probably still be done centrally in Taiwan. In the event China takes over Taiwan, how long will the TSMC fabs outside of Taiwan be functional? Months? Weeks? The same thing with Samsung fabs in Texas. How long they could function efficiently without the staff in Korea?

Regarding decision-making and directing investments, I wonder if we asked *any* US congressperson what photoresist is and what it's used for, if they could give even a very high level answer? Would they stay awake for a white board explanation?

I can't believe the Chinese government is so naive that they haven't gamed out a five year plan after seizing Taiwan, however they do it. They get Taiwan, but they screw up their own economy and the world economy, which probably means they have multiple hundred million people unemployed and a shredded financial system. The chip fabrication advantage declines quickly because they can't get new machinery, or even parts for the current stuff.

The invade Taiwan scenario makes no sense. And even if the Taiwanese agreed to be absorbed willingly, what would be different? The CCP government would still be an adversary of the US, Japan, and Europe, so can they possibly think that the current status quo of allowing Taiwan to buy the best technologies from around the world would continue, or would the restrictive policies the being applied to China suddenly apply to Taiwan too? I'd bet on the latter - deep restrictions.

I wonder, does the CCP really know what it wants?
 

Lorien

Member
I'm not seeing how a conflict works out in China's favor, unless their sole purpose is to harm the US, Europe, and Japan. Once China takes Taiwan by force, how are they going to sustain Taiwan's chip companies? Chip-making machines are full of technologies from the three above-mentioned national sources. I'm sure all these countries would cut off Chinese trade of critical technologies immediately, and I doubt it would take very long to cripple TSMC and the rest of the Taiwanese semi industry.

I'm also not impressed by TSMC or Samsung building fabs in the US as a national security enabler. The Arizona TSMC fabs will still be very dependent on Taiwanese personnel, and all of the process development and debugging will probably still be done centrally in Taiwan. In the event China takes over Taiwan, how long will the TSMC fabs outside of Taiwan be functional? Months? Weeks? The same thing with Samsung fabs in Texas. How long they could function efficiently without the staff in Korea?

Regarding decision-making and directing investments, I wonder if we asked *any* US congressperson what photoresist is and what it's used for, if they could give even a very high level answer? Would they stay awake for a white board explanation?

I can't believe the Chinese government is so naive that they haven't gamed out a five year plan after seizing Taiwan, however they do it. They get Taiwan, but they screw up their own economy and the world economy, which probably means they have multiple hundred million people unemployed and a shredded financial system. The chip fabrication advantage declines quickly because they can't get new machinery, or even parts for the current stuff.

The invade Taiwan scenario makes no sense. And even if the Taiwanese agreed to be absorbed willingly, what would be different? The CCP government would still be an adversary of the US, Japan, and Europe, so can they possibly think that the current status quo of allowing Taiwan to buy the best technologies from around the world would continue, or would the restrictive policies the being applied to China suddenly apply to Taiwan too? I'd bet on the latter - deep restrictions.

I wonder, does the CCP really know what it wants?
I grew up in Taiwan in the 90's; our schools had air raid drills weekly and I experienced the missile crisis in '96 that's very similar to what's going on right now (back then it was due to Taiwan holding it's own very first presidential election, which signified political independence and China didn't like that).

Like I said before the only reason there's suddenly so much international attention on Taiwan is because of the sudden realization from average Western citizens (mostly due to the chip shortage during the pandemic) that their entire cozy high-tech lifestyle is dependent on this tiny island they never heard of. Now every time China makes a military gesture there's mass panic in Western media because, oh, our national interest!!!

To most Taiwanese this is old news, and they are very indifferent about it. It's been this way since the 50's - heck there used to be frequent artillery duels across the straight between mainland and Kinmen islands (one of Taiwan's westmost fortifications). I would say things are a lot calmer now relatively speaking.

There's bound to be some political theater from the PPP (which are pro-Taiwanese independence) that wants to demonstrate how evil China is and highlight how a threat to Taiwan is a threat to the world order as we know it, but the reality is both Taiwan and China are perfectly ok with maintaining the status quo - because neither side has a good solution to address the issue of Taiwanese national identity.
 
Last edited:

Paul2

Active member
To most Taiwanese this is old news, and they are very indifferent about it. It's been this way since the 50's - heck there used to be frequent artillery duels across the straight between mainland and Kinmen islands (one of Taiwan's westmost fortifications). I would say things are a lot calmer now relatively speaking.

There are still 240mm M1s on Kinmen. It's not like we don't have hostages on our own.

Shamen is no small city, and is full of very rich mainland VIPs who come there for a resort lifestyle.

Both ROC, and PRC can exact a very heavy price on each other in just a few hours if we decide to launch a serious confrontation. Just too much industry in South China, not only electronics. A single missile salvo will write off few percents of global GDP even without any nukes used.

So, I would tell American readers that the "seriousness meter" to watch will be Shamen.
 
Last edited:

blueone

Active member
I grew up in Taiwan in the 90's; our schools had air raid drills weekly and I experienced the missile crisis in '96 that's very similar to what's going on right now (back then it was due to Taiwan holding it's own very first presidential election, which signified political independence and China didn't like that).

Like I said before the only reason there's suddenly so much international attention on Taiwan is because of the sudden realization from average Western citizens (mostly due to the chip shortage during the pandemic) that their entire cozy high-tech lifestyle is dependent on this tiny island they never heard of. Now every time China makes a military gesture there's mass panic in Western media because, oh, our national interest!!!

To most Taiwanese this is old news, and they are very indifferent about it. It's been this way since the 50's - heck there used to be frequent artillery duels across the straight between mainland and Kinmen islands (one of Taiwan's westmost fortifications). I would say things are a lot calmer now relatively speaking.

There's bound to be some political theater from the PPP (which are pro-Taiwanese independence) that wants to demonstrate how evil China is and highlight how a threat to Taiwan is a threat to the world order as we know it, but the reality is both Taiwan and China are perfectly ok with maintaining the status quo - because neither side has a good solution to address the issue of Taiwanese national identity.
My friends in Seoul have the same attitude about North Korea. But this is also a different China than in years past. It is a China that has been working out in the gym and taking steroids for a long time, and now seems anxious to test its muscles.
 
Last edited:

tooLongInEDA

Active member
My friends in Seoul have the same attitude about North Korea. But this also a different China than in years past. It is a China that has been working out in the gym and taking steroids for a long time, and now seems anxious to test its muscles.
For me, the most concerning thing is the sheer volume of bad news coming out of China about all its bad investments and the bad debts that will result (massive fraud on attempts to launch a domestic IC industry, ludicrous housing and local government funding business model which is inevitably going south, awful demographics, almost unused high-speed rail projects, bad debts from Belt and Road projects (Sri Lanka is the first, but not the only case)). Those are just the ones that I know of as an uninformed observer.

The temptation to do something in Taiwan to distract from domestic problems must be there. The Argentians tried it out on us (Falkland Islands/UK) in 1982 ... perhaps it actually worked out OK for them in the end as they inadvertently got democracy in place of the military junta.
 

hist78

Well-known member
My friends in Seoul have the same attitude about North Korea. But this also a different China than in years past. It is a China that has been working out in the gym and taking steroids for a long time, and now seems anxious to test its muscles.

Indeed CCP is eager to show their muscles except they don't understand it won't get them something meaningful as a reward. At the end of day, no matter how many PLA's missiles shot into Pacific Ocean, it won't change Taiwan, Japan, US, or Australia's policy towards PRC, if it's not getting even worse.
 
Last edited:

Lorien

Member
My friends in Seoul have the same attitude about North Korea. But this is also a different China than in years past. It is a China that has been working out in the gym and taking steroids for a long time, and now seems anxious to test its muscles.
China is definitely in a different place in the world order; the renewed focus on Taiwan in my opinion is a way for China to once again assert its place on the global stage (similar to what it's doing in the South China Sea), and challenge America's military and political dominance in particular. In my opinion Taiwan is just being used as a political theater for both China and US right now, it's nothing new except China is on much more even footing financially and militarily.

As for the prospect of an actual war, it would be very costly and I don't feel like China has enough to gain relative to what it can potentially lose. Realpolitik would suggest this to be an unlikely scenario.
 

BillUdd

New member
The economic boycott (a la Russia/Ukraine) that would follow a takeover would be even worse than the loss of South China manufacturing caused by Taiwanese missles. The result: disaster for China, (and the world economy).
 

tonyget

Active member
The economic boycott (a la Russia/Ukraine) that would follow a takeover would be even worse than the loss of South China manufacturing caused by Taiwanese missles. The result: disaster for China, (and the world economy).

Fun fact,there are around 200 nations in the world. The vast majority of countries in Africa/South America/Asia/Middle east still maintains trade with Russia as of now,it is only the Western bloc trying to cutoff trade with Russia,so it is not "the whole world is boycotting Russia" as Western media claims.

But as the weight of Western bloc(includes the likes of JP/SK/TW) in global economy continue to shrink,in the future the Global South will be become an important market. The trade volume of developing countries with China already surpassed that of US-China as of 2020,this trend will only continue as US-China actively decoupling with each other,so the power of economic boycott by the West fades over time.
 

Paul2

Active member
Fun fact,there are around 200 nations in the world. The vast majority of countries in Africa/South America/Asia/Middle east still maintains trade with Russia as of now,it is only the Western bloc trying to cutoff trade with Russia,so it is not "the whole world is boycotting Russia" as Western media claims.

But as the weight of Western bloc(includes the likes of JP/SK/TW) in global economy continue to shrink,in the future the Global South will be become an important market. The trade volume of developing countries with China already surpassed that of US-China as of 2020,this trend will only continue as US-China actively decoupling with each other,so the power of economic boycott by the West fades over time.

And this means the West is losing much of the shock value by only strangling Russia slowly, and letting power holders there to move their money out of harm's way.
Golden rule — if you do something nasty, do it fast.
 

benb

Active member
In Peter Zeihan’s book “The End of the World is Just the Beginning” he argues China has a very poor demographic structure, and is in a poor geography, and will struggle to survive in the de-globalizing world of 2022 and beyond. Russia is the same, vulnerable in many ways, and won’t survive 100 years, based on how fast their population is shrinking. They will take Ukraine down with them, and that’s the problem. Desperation may make China or Russia engage in blackmail or plunder nearby countries that are not nuclear powers.

I think Japan, Taiwan and S. Korea need a nuclear arsenal. Korea and Japan, with their right of center politics, are fine, but Taiwan needs a tougher political party that makes a tougher stand for independence, and backs it up with force. The old status quo was broken when the CCP removed the word “peaceful” from the reunification pledge, and so far, Taiwan has not responded.
 

Barnsley

Member
Fun fact,there are around 200 nations in the world. The vast majority of countries in Africa/South America/Asia/Middle east still maintains trade with Russia as of now,it is only the Western bloc trying to cutoff trade with Russia,so it is not "the whole world is boycotting Russia" as Western media claims.

But as the weight of Western bloc(includes the likes of JP/SK/TW) in global economy continue to shrink,in the future the Global South will be become an important market. The trade volume of developing countries with China already surpassed that of US-China as of 2020,this trend will only continue as US-China actively decoupling with each other,so the power of economic boycott by the West fades over time.

Fun Facts are great arent they.

Though often a little condescending.
 

tooLongInEDA

Active member
And this means the West is losing much of the shock value by only strangling Russia slowly, and letting power holders there to move their money out of harm's way.
Golden rule — if you do something nasty, do it fast.
Strangling Russia slowly worked during the Cold War. And was arguably the only way to go.

I would suggest that the current brain drain of skilled people out of Russia is something which will have a huge impact, but take time to work through.

There are far too many people attempting to take the score and call the game right now when the signal to noise ratio is still very poor and there is no neutral referee. It will all become clear looking back in 10 years time.
 

Paul2

Active member
There are only 33 countries in the world with meaningful militaries. A lot more out of 200 just bet on not being invaded out of the blue.

Analysts were ringing the bell that military spending been shooting through the roof everywhere in the world, yet failing to note the context.

Everybody more or less advanced in security studies will tell that lion share of the rise came from countries previously enjoying American security umbrella, who correctly though they could not rely on it anymore after US reneged on defending its least important allies.


The age of double digit GDP spending on defence is back on us, as well as compulsory draft, double digit population enrolment into the military, and way more coercive social, and economic policies.

I find the talk of "new cold war" is far from reality — back then we already had very polarised world, and very certain lines.

What we see today is best to be said a new inter-war period: old empires fall, quickly shifting alliances, a wave of populist politicians sweeping the major powers, and naivete being mercilessly punished. And all this after a period of unprecedented 60 years of prosperity, and peace which propelled Europe into its second golden age.
 
Top