Taiwan is on the edge for the U.S. government’s call regarding whether its chipmakers can extend their waiver to provide U.S. chip equipment to their Chinese factories. This uncertainty looms in the backdrop of the U.S.’s stringent export controls launched last October. This directive was aimed at restricting China’s access to specific semiconductor chips crafted using U.S. tools. Such a move had a broader objective – to curb Beijing’s rapid technological and military progression.
Recently, the South Korean government relayed that giants like Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix have received the green light. They can now indefinitely offer U.S. chip equipment to their factories in China without the need for distinct U.S. authorizations. The burning question remains – Will Taiwanese chipmakers receive a similar nod?
It was last year when TSMC, the globe’s premier contract chipmaker, obtained a one-year permit from the U.S. This permission pertained to its Nanjing factory in China that specializes in the less-advanced 28 nanometre chips. However, as the clock ticks, the overarching concern is whether the U.S. administration will ease the current stipulations further.
In parallel, expectations had risen about the U.S.’s potential extension of the waiver for South Korean chipmakers. This waiver pertains to a mandate for licenses, facilitating the movement of U.S. chip equipment into China.
It’s noteworthy to mention the heft of Samsung and SK Hynix in the global chip market. Collectively, they’ve pumped billions into their chip manufacturing hubs in China. With Samsung Electronics churning out roughly 40% of its NAND flash chips in Xian and SK Hynix producing a significant chunk of its chips in China, their market dominance is palpable. As of the end of June, these titans commanded almost 70% of the worldwide DRAM market and half of the NAND flash market.
The dynamics of the global chip market are evolving rapidly, with policies and corporate strategies intertwining. The U.S.’s forthcoming decision could play a pivotal role in shaping the future trajectories of several major chip manufacturers and, by extension, influence the broader technological landscape.