In my last column, I discussed the US CHIPS Act which aims to help America produce more of its own semiconductors and widen its lead over China. The day after the US House of Representatives passed the landmark CHIPS bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi embarked on a trip to East Asia, including a controversial detour to Taiwan. Though US House Speakers have visited Taiwan before, news of Pelosi’s trip unleashed an unprecedented response from Beijing which threatened drastic consequences if she went ahead.
While the sabre-rattling continues and Pelosi has since returned home, the controversial trip highlighted the importance of Taiwan as a global chip powerhouse and why the US wants to bring more semiconductor manufacturing onshore. It also highlighted why China, which is five to 10 years behind in the most sophisticated chip technology, is now desperate to play catch-up with Taiwan and America.