Ninety-Two Percent of the World’s Most Advanced Chips Come from One Manufacturer
June 22, 2021
You have probably never heard of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), but you have almost certainly purchased their products.
TSMC has a market cap of $550 billion, making it the 11th most valuable company in the world. The company makes almost all of the world’s most advanced computer chips–and the bulk of the simpler ones as well–that are used in smartphones, computers, and cars, and one research firm says that TSMC’s dominance poses a threat to the global economy.
According to Capital Economics, TSMC is responsible for 92% of the world’s most advanced chips, a situation that the Wall Street Journal likens to the world’s past reliance on Middle Eastern oil. This is especially concerning as the island is a geopolitical hot button issue, given China’s disputed claims of sovereignty.
While the U.S. still leads the world in chip design, we account for only 12% of the world’s chip manufacture, down from 37% in 1990, according to Boston Consulting Group. The WSJ notes that analysts believe it would be difficult for other manufactures to challenge TSMC’s dominance in the arena because of the massive capital investments that would be required. TSMC has explored the possibility of building a manufacturing plant in Arizona, though the plant would likely produce less-sophisticated chips.