Tensions between China and the US are causing some manufacturers to talk about moving some of their supply chains away from Taiwan. However, the head of Taiwan’s most important smartphone chip design firm told Reuters over the weekend that the move is “incremental.”
Some “very large” equipment makers will want their chip suppliers to have more than one source, such as Taiwan and the U.S., Germany, or Europe, said Rick Tsai, CEO of MediaTek Inc. “I think we’ll have to find more than one source for the same chip in those situations if the business needs it.”
He added that it is already happening, but not on a large scale.
Tsai and other top executives talked to Reuters on Friday while the company was hosting a media and analyst event in Sonoma Valley, California. The company has been trying to grow its business in the U.S. Tsai said that the goal was to triple or quadruple sales, but he didn’t say when that would happen.
Tsai said that some of MediaTek’s older smartphone chips are made by GlobalFoundries Inc., which has factories in the U.S. and Singapore, and that the company announced earlier this year that it would make its chips at Intel Corp.’s fabrication facilities.
Tsai said that MediaTek’s plan to use the “Intel 16” chip-making technology works well for making MediaTek chips for smart TVs and Wi-Fi. “It’s a big part of our business.” So we’re not joking. “I’m keeping an eye on how things are going every month,” Tsai said, adding that its chips will be made at Intel’s plant in Ireland starting in the second half of 2024.
He said that MediaTek will also make chips in TSMC’s Arizona fab once it’s up and running. However, he warned that the chip industry couldn’t move away from Taiwan, which is the most important place in the world for making advanced chips.
“But will that be enough?” No. He said, “Not even close.
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