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Eastern Europe may become microchip powerhouse

The whole semiconductor supply chain is enormous. Many countries can play different roles,” Taiwan’s National Development Council head, Kung Ming-hsin, told reporters following last month’s visit to Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania. 

He said all three countries expressed readiness to jointly work on semiconductor chips with Taiwan, which holds a 63% share of the global semiconductor market.

The European Commission in September proposed a new piece of legislation to increase chip production amid global shortages that forced delays in many industries, with carmakers hit the hardest. The so-called ‘Chips Act’ is aimed to boost chip research, domestic semiconductor production capacity, and international cooperation on chip manufacturing.

Kung said it was a difficult task for Europe to do on its own.

So they hope to cooperate with Taiwan,” he explained.

The official noted that Taiwan currently plans to set up working groups with the three countries to figure out how exactly they can cooperate on chips. It will also give European partners scholarships for technical training in the semiconductor industry. 

Taiwan holds a near-monopoly in global semiconductor manufacturing, with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) accounting for 54% of the global chip market share. Major US tech companies, including Apple and Nvidia, get up to 90% of their semiconductors from Taiwanese manufacturers.

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