Apple Chip Supplier TSMC Warns Plants Would Shut Down if China Invades Taiwan

Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) Limited’s microprocessor factories would become “not operable” if China were to invade its home country, company Chair Mark Liu said in a recent interview with CNN (via CNBC).

Liu warned that chipmaking is not an isolated operation and relies on global supply chains. “Nobody can control TSMC by force. If you take a military force or invasion, you will render TSMC factory not operable,” he said.

“Because this is such a sophisticated manufacturing facility, it depends on real-time connection with the outside world, with Europe, with Japan, with U.S., from materials to chemicals to spare parts to engineering software and diagnosis.”

TSMC is the world’s leading chip manufacturer, boasting massive contracts with American companies like Apple, AMD, Nvidia, and Qualcomm. It even manufactures Apple’s in-house designed A-series iPhone chips and M-series Mac processors.

The company rests on the bleeding edge of semiconductor technology and accounts for more than 50% of the world’s semiconductor foundry market.

TSMC is investing hundreds of billions of dollars in expanding its chip manufacturing capacity, with plans for new factories in Singapore and even the U.S. However, the company’s largest and most advanced chip fabs are still located in Taiwan.

“The war brings no winners, everybody’s losers,” Liu added. The interview was aired as political tensions between China and Taiwan continue to rise.

TSMC’s head encouraged political leaders to try to avoid war. He alluded to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and the resulting fallout being felt across the globe.

“Ukraine war is not good for any of the sides, it’s lose-lose-lose scenarios,” he said. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has crippled supply chains in the automotive industry, significantly impacted global food supply, and even affected semiconductor production by cutting down the availability of laser-grade neon.