Visiting Intel boss talks up Taiwan investment

Intel's top executive Pat Gelsinger has lauded Taiwan's importance to the global semiconductor industry, saying his firm has plans to invest in the country's "incredible ecosystem."

Gelsinger, currently in Taiwan reportedly to meet with top executives from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), made the comments in a pre-recorded video explaining the reasons behind his trip.

With its vibrant ecosystem of technology, Taiwan, Gelsinger stressed, is at the heart of this innovation of digitalization, becoming a hub of the semiconductor industry over the past several decades.

Gelsinger applauded the remarkable achievements of TSMC, saying it has unlocked the magic of silicon and created products that would otherwise never have existed.

The Intel boss said that COVID-19 had accelerated widespread digitization, spurring rapid innovation and new models of learning, working, and interacting.

Gelsinger added that the internet had created explosive growth in demand for semiconductors, critical to the modern economies, saying the current shortage highlighted the importance of supply chains and formulating global solutions to supply issues.

"We must build factories faster, run them at higher yields, install new equipment, and do so in a way that balances the global supply chain for the future," Gelsinger said.

When taking up the position of CEO 10 months ago, Gelsinger vowed that his firm would play its part in solving the global semiconductor shortage, ensuring the global and national innovation engine's health and sustainability.

This was part of the reason for running some operations in Taiwan, with Gelsinger saying Intel would "continue to invest in Taiwan and build upon the incredible ecosystem to drive innovation."

The Intel CEO concluded by saying his firm looked forward to having a strong presence in Taiwan because the partnership was critically important to Intel, the tech industry and the world.

Gelsinger's private jet landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Monday, and he is expected to meet TSMC's high-ranking managers.

He entered Taiwan under the nation's so-called "economic bubble" program, according to border control authorities at the airport.

Gelsinger's underscoring of the importance of TSMC and Taiwan to the global semiconductor supply chain comes amid somewhat tense relations between TSMC and Intel.

Gelsinger had suggested Dec. 1 that subsidies from Washington's CHIPS Act, which seeks to reduce the United States' reliance on foreign semiconductor production, should only go to domestic firms, arguing that the diversion of funds to TSMC meant competing with "Taiwan Inc.," according to Fortune magazine.

The report also cited the Intel boss as saying geopolitical tensions between Taiwan and China meant overreliance on the island's semiconductor production facilities presented a "precarious" situation.

A Dec. 7 report from Bloomberg cited TSMC Chairman Mark Liu (???) as saying in response that it would be "very negative for the United States to subsidize only American companies" and "not too many people will believe what Intel says."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel