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TSMC founder concerned about Taiwan semiconductor future

Morris Chang names Kyushu, Singapore as potential future chip centers

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Morris Chang (second left) attends TSMC's athletics meeting in Hsinchu County Saturday. 

Morris Chang (second left) attends TSMC's athletics meeting in Hsinchu County Saturday.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The outlook for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry may turn negative 20 to 30 years from now, and it is impossible to predict where the next major manufacturing hub might be established, said Morris Chang (張忠謀), the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chip maker.

The company invited Chang to speak at its annual athletic meet in Hsinchu County on Saturday (Oct. 14). Chang also said the computer chip sector is no longer globalizing, though he expressed confidence about TSMC being able to overcome future challenges, per CNA.

He said that a prediction he made in 2019, that TSMC would get caught up in geopolitics, had come true. Everyone needs TSMC now, as national security has taken precedence over globalization and free trade, he said.

Other countries are using geopolitical trends to try and beat TSMC, so the company will likely face some tough challenges, Chang told TSMC employees. However, he also expressed optimism about its ability to overcome difficulties.

Looking further ahead, Chang said that two or three decades from now, other countries might replace Taiwan as top producers of semiconductors, but it is impossible to tell now which countries might achieve such success, CNA reported. Chang mentioned Japan’s island of Kyushu as a possible contender because of its ample supply of water and electricity, with Singapore as another likely candidate.

He also mentioned Vietnam, India, and Indonesia as possibilities. The level of development is a major factor, he added.

Chang also told a story about people in the United States being surprised when he told them that in Taiwan, it was normal for an engineer to head for the factory, even at midnight, if there was a technical problem that needed fixing.