TAIPEI, Taiwan The U.S.-Taiwan Business Council said the U.S. government should ease rules
that inhibit technology sales to Asian companies,
especially those with fabs in Taiwan and China.
Acknowledging the twin trends of Asian growth and U.S.
decline in fab building, the advocacy group
nevertheless said this shouldn’t automatically lead Washington to conclude that its economy or
security are at risk.
“What U.S. policymakers are failing to take into
consideration is the nature of the global
semiconductor industry, where contract chip making by
foundries in Taiwan and China is on the rise due to
the exorbitant costs associated with owning and
operating wafer fabs,” said Rupert Hammond-Chambers,
president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council.
“The US has greatly benefited from the fabless
business model, and is now the world’s leader in both
chip design and chip-making equipment. To remain
competitive globally, U.S. businesses cannot disregard
factors such as favorable investment incentives and
the value and cost-savings of having chip making in
close proximity to electronics goods manufacturing much of which is done by Taiwan businesses in China,” he said.
Earlier this week, a survey by data tracker iSuppli
Corp. found that the US continues to dominate electronic system design. Electronic system design in the U.S. is expected to drive 33.5 percent of global semiconductor purchasing in 2005, amounting to $58.7 billion worth of chip sales for the year, according to iSuppli. The China/Hong Kong region accounted for 5.4 percent of design, behind Japan, Taiwan and Germany and ahead of South Korea.
Despite this lead, what worries some, like the
U.S. Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), is that China is proving attractive for fab investment. SEMI recently projected that China will add 20 new wafer fabs
between 2005 and 2008. In 2004, China and Taiwan were the world’s fastest growing markets for chip making equipment, with 132 percent and 166 percent growth respectively, while North America was the slowest at 23 percent.