Semiconductor sector to grow faster than global GDP: Morris Chang

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Former TSMC Chairman Morris Chang (center) at the ECCT. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (CNA) - Former Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) Chairman Morris Chang said Thursday he is upbeat about the development of the semiconductor industry, adding that he expects the sector to grow quicker than global gross domestic product (GDP) over the next 10 years.

Chang made the forecast in a speech at a luncheon hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce Taiwan (ECCT), his first public appearance since retiring on June 5.

Expressing optimism about the future of the semiconductor industry, Chang said the semiconductor is almost as essential as bread and potatoes and the industry will grow fairly fast.

He predicted that over the next decade, global GDP will grow at an average of about 3 percent per annum, while growth in the semiconductor sector will reach 5 percent.

Chang said he hopes TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker, will maintain its competitiveness and grow at more than 5 percent.

Asked whether China's semiconductor sector will surpass that of Taiwan, Chang said the industry in China will make great strides over the next 5-10 years, but TSMC will also continue to develop. As a result, the development gap between the two sides is unlikely to be bridged in the short term. TSMC will still retain a lead of 5-7 years in technology development over its competitors in China.

However, Chang also noted that the environment in Taiwan is not conducive to innovation.

Taiwan's culture, the way people live and do things are all factors that hinder innovation and "innovation means change," Chang noted, though he added that he expects such things to change over the coming decades. (By Pan Tzi-yu and Evelyn Kao)