China is angry with Taiwan’s TSMC for handing over chip data to US

TSMC’s 5nm and 3nm chips are max. What happens next? (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP)

Taiwan’s TSMC has been criticized by China for its decision to comply with a US request for information. This anger, which has manifested itself on Chinese social networks, stems from fears that the United States may use the information to sanction Beijing.

This, however, despite the fact that the Taiwanese chipmaker said it would not “reveal confidential customer information to the US government.”

Taiwanese company TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co) is arguably the most important player in the global semiconductor industry.

It also said in a statement last week that it would “respond” to a request from the US Department of Commerce for information from chip companies in the semiconductor supply chain. Other chipmakers include South Korean Samsung Electronics and US Intel.

As reported by SCMP, details of the information TSMC will provide to the United States are still unknown. However, the company said it would not disclose “confidential information” of customers and “would not infringe the rights of our customers and shareholders.”

According to the US government, their request was to address the root of the flea shortage. However, no Chinese company was directly involved.

Despite these assurances, however, the Chinese did not calm down.

According to SCMP, who spoke with Xi Chen, a member of the academic committee of the Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding at Peking University, the data could “potentially help Washington impose sanctions on Chinese companies more precisely “.

The semiconductor market in China is by far the largest, accounting for around 35% of the global market share, overtaking the United States, Europe, Japan and even Taiwan, home to the largest chipmaker. semiconductors.

Reviews of Taiwan’s TSMC have appeared on several digital media platforms, such as Weibo, WeChat, and various websites.

“We believe TSMC, Samsung and other semiconductor companies may provide relatively insensitive information in response to the US government,” said Eric Tseng, managing director of Taiwan-based research firm Isaiah Research.

“But key information related to trade secrets and customer rights, such as customer lists, order content and amounts, will be kept confidential to maintain the long-standing trust between TSMC and its customers,” he said. he adds.

The US Department of Commerce has asked domestic and foreign players in the semiconductor value chain to “voluntarily” provide information about their sales, inventory, and customer details in order to quantify the risks associated with the semiconductor value chain. supply of semiconductors.

As reported by SCMPPeking University Institute for Global Cooperation and Understanding academic committee member Xi Chen said the data could potentially play a role in allowing Washington to impose sanctions on Chinese companies.

As the world’s most advanced wafer foundry, TSMC plays a pivotal role in China’s quest to become self-sufficient in chips. Previously, the Taiwanese foundry complied with US sanctions against Huawei Technologies Co, which crushed the once-giant smartphone maker.

In addition, TSMC had also ceased production of chips for Phytium Information Technology Co, one of the seven Chinese supercomputer-related organizations added to the U.S. entity list in April, dealing a blow to China’s lawsuit in the field. supercomputers.

In September of this year, major chipmakers in China stepped up efforts to ramp up production, with the country’s leading contract chip maker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), planning to build a new manufacturing facility that will become the largest such factory in use in China. for products other than memory.

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