Hi-tech manufacturing

Signage for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) at the company's headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan, on 11 January 2022. (I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg)

Why TSMC will stay rooted in Taiwan despite pressure to set up overseas chip factories

While the US and Japan would like TSMC to "spread the risk" of global tech supply chains being hit in the event of cross-strait tensions, TSMC is quite firm on keeping its advanced technologies in Taiwan while going through the motions of setting up some overseas outposts as recommended by its allies. It is well aware of its strategic value and will want to hold on to its upper hand.
Visitors look at a display of a semiconductor device at Semicon China, a trade fair for semiconductor technology, in Shanghai, China, 17 March 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Chinese tech companies in chipmaking race to be self-reliant

The global chip shortage throughout 2021 prompted many tech companies to rely more on themselves. Coupled with the rise of artificial intelligence, demand for high-capacity chips has increased with tech companies and device makers racing to deliver smarter services and products. But the global semiconductor industry is also getting increasingly crowded, as more and more newcomers seek to gain a foothold in advanced chips to power new technologies.
Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou returns to a court hearing following a lunch break in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 16 August 2021. (Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters)

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou: Politics rather than law may decide her fate

Wang Jiangyu says Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has reason not to be optimistic about her court case regarding extradition to the US on charges of alleged bank fraud. While the Canadian court has raised some contradictions in the arguments of the US side, political factors may come into play.
This file photo taken on 31 May 2021 shows an employee of the semiconductor manufacturer Bosch working in a clean room during the preparations for the series production of semiconductor chips on innovative 300-millimetre wafers in Dresden, Germany. (Jens Schlueter/AFP)

Why no country can win the chip war

Though the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on many industries, annual global semiconductor sales still increased by 10.8% in 2020 to reach US$464 billion. The current global semiconductor supply chain is highly internationalised. While it is dominated by a small number of countries and regions, none of them has full control over every segment in the supply chain and geopolitics can be a risk factor. While the US has imposed sanctions and trade restrictions on China to hinder its development in chip making, academic James Pang says that given the nature of the industry, the current status quo will be maintained for some time.
Visitors look at a display of a semiconductor device at Semicon China, a trade fair for semiconductor technology, in Shanghai, China, 17 March 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China's going full speed ahead on technology innovation. Will it work?

Amid intense technological competition with the US, China is more determined than ever to be self-reliant in core frontier technologies. It has rolled out various plans but several obstacles such as financial resources stand in the way. Is it a case of more haste, less speed?
Data room operators work at the headquarters of online shopping platform JD.com during the Singles' Day shopping festival in Beijing on 11 November 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

72-hour workweek in China's tech companies: Driving innovation or destroying workers?

News of young employees dying from overwork at major Chinese tech companies are not unheard of. Last December, a 22-year-old female employee at e-commerce giant Pinduoduo died after working long hours past midnight. China's intense efforts at increasing national competences in new and advanced technologies have seen it moving up the value chain from a low-cost manufacturer to an innovator in science and technology. But is the “996 culture” of working from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week, feasible and sustainable?
A researcher working on a semiconductor on an interface board, 29 February 2016. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Taiwan's booming semiconductor industry plays crucial role on world stage

Taiwan’s semiconductor industry has been making waves not just domestically, but internationally. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong examines why for Taiwan, strategically and economically, possessing advanced semiconductor technology is as good as striking gold.
A technician checks hanging clocks at a workshop of a clock company in Yantai, Shandong province, China, on 15 December 2020. (STR/AFP)

Chinese manufacturing must grow in strength, not just size

China’s manufacturing sector is known to be the “world’s factory”, and its scale is unrivalled. However, Chinese academic Chen Hongbin notes that this manufacturing behemoth is not as strong as it seems.
Customers walk past a dragon made from Lego bricks at a store in Beijing, China, on 7 December 2020. (Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg)

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan will be a game changer

In anticipation of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan kicking in next year, commentator David Ng examines how the proposals will affect the direction of China’s economic growth, as well as China-US competition, and in turn shift the global order.