By Sarah Newton-John • 14 March 2023 • 14:02
Computer chip/Shutterstock Images
Robert O’Brien, who served as national security advisor in the Trump administration, told Semafor the US “and its allies are never going to let those factories fall into Chinese hands.”
If China were to take control of these factories, the country would be “like the new OPEC of silicon chips,” O’Brien said, adding that China would be able to “control the world economy.”
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is the world’s largest chipmaker, making up an estimated 90% of the market for advanced processors. The company produces chips for most devices and equipment like phones and cars that are used every day. More advanced chips produced by the manufacturer are used in highly advanced technology like machine learning and guided missiles.
Apple is TSMC’s biggest customer, and the manufacturer produces most of the 1.4 billion smartphone processors in the world. Around 60% of automakers also reportedly use the chips made by the company.
Though a lot of the research and development for semiconductors happens in the US, the past 30 years saw manufacturers deciding it was best to outsource manufacturing.
O’Brien is not the first to raise the idea of destroying Taiwan’s semiconductor factories if China successfully invades. Two US scholars recommended the move in a paper published by the US Army War College in 2021.
As tensions between mainland China and Taiwan continue to escalate, analysts are predicting a Chinese invasion of the island within the next few years. If China does invade Taiwan, “that would be the biggest impact we’ve seen to the global economy — possibly ever,” Glenn O’Donnell, the vice president and research director at Forrester, previously told Insider, adding that it could be worse than the stock market crash in 1929.
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