US collection of fab information: TSMC completed, Intel not submitted?

According to the Taiwan Media United Daily, the US Federal Register and related website information show that TSMC has completed the questionnaire submitted by the US and sent it back. One of the highlights of the public document is that TSMC told the US that this year’s revenue will reach 56.6 billion US dollars (more than new NT$1.5 trillion), a record high, with an annual growth rate of 24.4 percent. TSMC said yesterday that it is continuously committed to supporting the challenges of the global semiconductor supply chain, and has responded to the US Department of Commerce’s request for “public comments on semiconductor supply chain risks” to help face this challenge, while maintaining its consistent position to protect customer confidentiality Disclosure of specific customer information in the response.

Who is stockpiling chips for cars? According to the Federal Register and related website information, as of yesterday, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd., UMC, ASE, Universal Crystal and other index Taiwan factories have all “submitted files”, and the total has been Twenty-three major international manufacturers and institutions have completed their replies, putting Korean companies such as Samsung and SK Hynix that have not responded under enormous pressure. It is rumored that the relevant companies will reply within the last time, or strive for Korean officials to visit the United States from the 9th to the 11th. , submit a response directly to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In the global chip shortage, Liu Deyin, the director of TSMC, pointed out that “some people in the supply chain are hoarding goods” in an interview a few days ago. The US side explained a few days ago that there is a lack of trust among supply chain operators. It is rumored that some companies are stockpiling goods and cannot grasp the exact demand. However, the client said that it could not get a direct response from the supplier, and even the quantity that could be obtained was reduced. Therefore, it is necessary to ask the industry to provide information to help. Solve the current shortage of semiconductor products.

The U.S. official solicited opinions on the semiconductor supply chain until November 8. It is understood that one of the ways in which the U.S. government publicly solicits industry opinions is the established question and answer form. TSMC has the most clear answer among the 23 companies, institutions, and individuals that have responded, and lists the share of vehicle revenue in the past two years. The ratio is about 4% and 3% respectively.

It has previously publicly stated that it will cooperate with the American semiconductor giant Intel and the German giant Infineon Intelligence, but they have not responded until the deadline yesterday; most Korean companies such as Samsung and SK Hynix have not yet submitted the answer form.

The South Korean Ministry of Finance said yesterday that in response to the US Treasury Department’s request for semiconductor companies to provide data on chip sales and inventory, South Korean technology companies are preparing to “voluntarily” submit some semiconductor data to the United States, and South Korean semiconductor companies are also continuing to discuss with Washington where the data should be provided. To this extent, the South Korean Ministry of Finance did not provide further details.

People in the industry believe that it is necessary to assist the U.S. official in clarifying the responsibility of the supply chain in compliance with international laws and regulations and to protect business secrets, and there is no need to leave all the answers to the questionnaire blank. After all, Taiwanese factories have made every effort to assist the global In the automotive supply chain, there is no need for car manufacturers to assign responsibility to Taiwanese manufacturers. Investigations can more or less clarify the responsibility for problems in the supply chain.

The industry pointed out that when the automotive supply chain was adjusted previously, traditional American and European automakers were seriously injured, while Korean automakers such as Hyundai Motor and Kia were less affected and sold well at home and abroad. Part of the crux is mainly the priority support of the Korean semiconductor chip factory behind it.

The United States “extorted” data from a number of chip-related companies! What is the intention of plundering “trade secrets”?

In late September this year, the U.S. Department of Commerce, in the name of responding to the global chip crisis, strongly demanded more than 20 chip-related companies, including TSMC and Samsung, to provide commercial confidential data. The deadline is November 8. Now that the deadline is approaching, after many companies have expressed compromise and cooperation, recently, Samsung in South Korea has also received a soft signal.

The U.S. Department of Commerce “extorts” confidential data from a number of chip-related companies

With the November 8 deadline approaching, Samsung finally couldn’t hold on. According to South Korean media reports, on November 3, South Korean company Samsung said it would submit business data to the United States for review on time. In fact, Samsung has been in a dilemma for more than a month before making this decision.

At first, the U.S. request aroused strong dissatisfaction from South Korea. On October 13, the South Korean ambassador to the United States made it clear that South Korean companies would not easily provide highly confidential information. At the same time, the South Korean government also conveyed the concerns of South Korean companies to the United States. But in the face of South Korea’s euphemistic refusal, U.S. Commerce Secretary Raymondo directly made threatening remarks.

During this period, the attitude of another semiconductor giant, TSMC, was also wavering. On September 30 and October 6, TSMC emphasized twice that “they will not disclose sensitive information.” But on October 22, TSMC conceded defeat and compromised, saying that it would hand over the data on time.

Just three days later, TSMC’s attitude was tough again, saying that it would not “fully hand over the data” as requested by the United States. TSMC has not compromised until now.

According to the requirements of the US Department of Commerce on September 23, there are more than 20 companies that need to submit data, including chip manufacturers such as Samsung, TSMC, Intel, technology companies such as Apple and Microsoft, and automobiles such as Daimler, BMW, GM, and Ford. manufacturer.

Bai Ming, deputy director of the International Market Research Institute of the Ministry of Commerce Research Institute: Because many companies have close relations with the United States, and some of the technologies they use are also American, they have to make compromises.

The U.S. requires companies to submit data within 45 days. Although the request is voluntary, the U.S. Department of Commerce also issued a warning that if it does not respond to the U.S. request, the U.S. government will invoke the Defense Production Act or other laws to take coercive measures.

Wu Changhai, a professor at China University of Political Science and Law: The scope of application of the National Defense Production Law is for companies that produce in the United States. If the company is not in the United States, then this is a form of data extortion.

According to sources from all parties, as of now, no company on the list has publicly stated that it has completely refused to provide data to the US.

The US chip industry is gradually moving towards “hollowing”

What is the reason for the United States to carry out “data extortion” even if it violates the business rules of fair competition? Recently, the U.S. auto manufacturing industry has slashed production, and the economic recovery has fallen into a slump. What is the connection between these phenomena and the recent “data extortion” behavior in the United States?

At the end of September, six factories of General Motors in the United States stopped production, and Ford also announced the production limit of some models, and many workers faced unemployment. The long-running global chip shortage has forced many U.S. automakers and other manufacturers to cut capacity. U.S. dealerships sold fewer than 1 million new vehicles in August, down 72% from 3.58 million in August 2019. The downturn in the auto industry has made the U.S. economic recovery worse. In the third quarter of this year, U.S. gross domestic product grew by just 2 percent, the weakest pace in 11 months, data showed.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has said that in the world’s most advanced semiconductor production, the U.S. makes zero percent. The remarks are not too pessimistic. In recent years, new breakthroughs have been made in the global chip manufacturing process. This year, Samsung has taken the lead in completing the world’s first 3-nanometer chip trial production, while TSMC has officially announced that it has broken through 2-nanometer chip technology and plans to mass-produce it in 2024. And American companies are still researching chips with 10-nanometer and 7-nanometer manufacturing processes.

Zhang Chao, a researcher at Taihe Think Tank, said that only from the perspective of chip manufacturing, there should be a gap of about ten years between American companies and TSMC and Samsung.

Data shows that in the foundry market, TSMC, the world’s largest chip foundry, has a market share of 54%, while Samsung’s market share is as high as 18%. At the same time, the share of the number of chips made in the United States is shrinking.

Under the background of the “chip shortage”, many related companies are adding more automotive chip orders to TSMC. This situation makes the chip manufacturing industry, which is already tilted towards Asia, even more unbalanced.

The United States re-examines the local chip industry chain

The continuous “chip shortage” has caused countries to re-examine the local chip industry chain. Repairing the supply chain and regaining chip dominance is one of the issues that the United States is most concerned about.

US President Joe Biden: Chips, like this one in my hand. These chips, wafers, our batteries, broadband, that’s the foundation of everything.

Although chips are extremely important, the U.S. government has also found that supply chain problems cannot be solved in a short period of time. On June 8, the Biden administration announced the establishment of a new supply chain interruption task force to deal with supply chain challenges.

In recent years, the US government has frequently reached out to the global semiconductor field. From banning all companies using US technology from providing chips to Huawei, to now asking more than 20 chip-related companies around the world for trade secret data. The information and data requested by the United States from companies this time mainly include: the company’s order shipments, inventory, customer information, and process nodes in the past three years. The list of items is detailed, with a list of up to 26 questions.

Zhang Chao, a researcher at Taihe Think Tank, said that having these data is equivalent to knowing the opponent’s trump card. For non-U.S.-based companies, any business negotiation in the future will be a “streaking” state. What worries these companies the most is that the U.S. government may hand over the obtained information to U.S. companies, especially companies such as Intel.

Behind the chip battle, the power of capital is even more difficult to ignore. According to TSMC’s 2020 financial report, among the top ten shareholders, there are as many as eight foreign shareholders, and overseas investment accounts for 75.8%. The first shareholder is Citi’s special account for custody of TSMC depositary receipts, with a shareholding ratio of 20.52%.

Samsung has always been the proudest company in South Korea. About 44% of Samsung Electronics’ shares are held by American investment institutions, especially financial institutions such as Wall Street Citi and JPMorgan Chase. In recent years, the United States has also continuously attracted Samsung and TSMC to set up factories in the United States to produce chips through high subsidy policies.

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