MediaTek CEO says some phone manufacturers want chip production moved from Taiwan

MediaTek CEO says some phone manufacturers want chip production moved from Taiwan
MediaTek CEO Rick Tsai notes that with the tensions in place between the U.S., China, and Taiwan, some phone manufacturers are hoping to move the source of their important chips out of Taiwan. The latter is home to the world's biggest foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC). MediaTek's chip designs come to life at TSMC's fabs. But the executive worries that some device manufacturers do not want to risk having their chips sourced from a potential hotspot like Taiwan.

Channel News Asia (CNA) quotes Tsai as saying, "very large (equipment manufacturers) will require their chip suppliers to have multiple sources, like from Taiwan and from the U.S., or Germany or from Europe. I think in those cases, we will have to find multiple sources for the same chip if the business warrants that." MediaTek's CEO says that this is already happening but not at such a large scale.

Most of MediaTek's cutting-edge SoCs are made by TSMC but its older smartphone chips are manufactured by GlobalFoundries which has fabs in the U.S. and Singapore. This would appear to give manufacturers some kind of diversification away from Taiwan. However, no one is making cutting-edge process-leading chips in the U.S. or Singapore and unless this gets corrected (there is speculation that TSMC will move 3nm production to its U.S. factory once it opens in 2024), there will be concern about fireworks between China, Taiwan, and the U.S. when the discussion is about the most advanced chipsets.

MediaTek will have some of its chips produced at TSMC's Arizona factory but Tsai admits that it is not realistic to expect the entire tech industry to abandon Taiwan. Recently, the company announced the Dimensity 9200 SoC which is designed to compete with the powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (to be released this week) and the currently employed Apple A16 Bionic used to power the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

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