Chipmakers to prioritize auto chips amid global shortage: Taiwan

Car Chip

Major Taiwanese chipmakers are willing to prioritize supplies for automakers amid a global shortage of chips for the industry, the island’s economics minister said after meeting with company executives.

Automakers around the world are shutting assembly lines due to the shortages, which in some cases have been exacerbated by the former US administration’s actions against Chinese chip factories.

“Chipmakers are willing to follow the government’s request and try to support auto chips as much as they can to support production in the US, Europe and Japan,” Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua told reporters.

The issue has become a diplomatic one, with German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier writing to Wang to ask her for help in addressing it. Wang also said the United States, European Union and Japan had also been in contact.

The chipmakers are prepared to negotiate with clients of other products to see which clients are willing to delay or cut orders and will try to boost production, Wang said.

“For example, if their capacity is at 100% now, they will try to raise it to 102% or 103%, with the extra capacity going to make auto chips,” she added.

She met executives from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), United Microelectronics Corp (UMC), Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp and Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp.

Vanguard declined to comment ahead of quarterly earnings next week but noted the company’s chairman had said this month he expects a 15% increase in demand for auto chips this year.

UMC Co-president Jason Wang told an investor’s call after the minister spoke that they would try their best to help ease the auto chip shortage by prioritizing supply. “Hopefully we can relieve some of the pressure,” he said.

The other two companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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