The 800-pound gorilla in the world of computer chips is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., a diversified company that churns out chips for everything from cars to iPhones.
TSMC makes many of the world’s most sophisticated chips, which are in increasing demand since the pandemic. And it supplies many simpler chips as well, making it a major player around the globe.
Its size isn’t the only concern about TSMC. Its location makes many people nervous. It’s in Taiwan, an independent country but one that China often tries to claim as its own.
What others are doing
The United States, Europe, China and private industry are all expanding their efforts to manufacture their own chips and cut their need for TSMC chips.
However, it’s an expensive challenge. A chip factory can cost $1 billion, and tools can run close to $100 million, according to a Wall Street Journal article.
President Biden’s infrastructure proposal would spend $50 billion on steps to increase domestic chip production. Both the European Union and China have announced plans to significantly increase domestic chip production, and Intel says it will invest $20 billion on new chip factories in the United States.