TAIPEI, May 1, 2021, Fox News. One hundred miles off the coast of China is the largest and most sophisticated microchip maker in the world – Taiwan. These chips power the world’s cars, phones, and computers, Fox News reported.
China consumes more than half of them and wants more as its economy grows and is increasingly casting an eye to their island neighbor to the east to get them – some worry by military force one day.
“Whoever controls the design and production of these microchips, they’ll set the course for the 21st century,” said Martijn Rasser, a senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank Center for a New American Security.
“By gaining control over Taiwan’s semiconductor industry, China would control the global market,” Rasser said. “They would have access to the most advanced manufacturing capabilities and that is even more valuable than controlling the world’s oil.”
Last month, the outgoing top U.S. military commander in the Pacific warned China could invade Taiwan in the next six years.
Taiwan could prove to be one of the biggest flashpoints for the Biden administration, forcing it to defend the island Beijing sees as a renegade province, in part to preserve the vital semiconductor industry. In recent days, China has flown dozens of aircraft, including jet fighters and long-range bombers, near Taiwan.
A global chip shortage brought on by the coronavirus pandemic is hurting sales at Apple, Samsung and Caterpillar. Ford says it expects to produce 1.1 million fewer vehicles.