Paul van Gerven
8 August 2022

Amid escalating tensions between the US and China over Taiwan, TSMC chairman Mark Liu has warned that “nobody can control TSMC by force.” In a rare interview with CNN last week, Liu said an invasion of Taiwan would render TSMC’s chip-making factories “non-operable. These are sophisticated manufacturing facilities, which depend on a real-time connection with the outside world for chemicals, materials, spare parts, engineering software diagnoses. If you take them over by force, you can no longer make them operable.”

TSMC Mark Liu
TSMC chairman Mark Liu. Credit: TSMC

The interview was aired one day before US top politician Nancy Pelosi paid a controversial visit to Taiwan last Tuesday. China has responded by initiating military exercises that effectively encircled the island. The drills were supposed to end on Sunday, but China has announced they will continue on Monday.

Whether the presence of the world’s largest and most advanced foundry presents an additional incentive for China to invade Taiwan, has been hotly debated. Obviously, TSMC is an asset that China would love to control, but many preceded Liu in pointing out that TSMC cannot operate in isolation.