Taiwan matters more than we’d like to tell ourselves
After the prolonged fighting in Ukraine, the threat Taiwan faces from China may feel like an overload, but what happens there matters to all of us more than we would like to think
For most businesses, risk diversification is a good thing. Yet, late last year, Morris Chang, who heads Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp, the world’s largest semiconductor company, sounded downbeat as plans to break ground on a new plant in the US proceeded apace. Globalization and free trade, he insisted, were almost dead. He grumbled that the US government’s plans to bring semiconductor manufacturing home were “doomed to fail." Yet Chang knows better than most that, controversial as industrial policy is because it usually comes with higher costs, his new plant in Arizona reduces the risk that Beijing will enjoy dominant control of chip production if it were to attack and overpower its tiny neighbour.