Is the US stealing advanced TSMC chip technologies from Taiwan, in the biggest international heist ever?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : US Is Stealing TSMC Chip Technologies From Taiwan!
This message has gone viral on WhatsApp and social media, claiming that two US professors have declared that the US is stealing Taiwan’s most advanced TSMC chip technologies!
It’s very long, so please feel free to skip to the next section for the facts!
Professor Ling-Chi Wang of UC Berkeley: I think the only way to describe what is happening to TSMC 台積电 in Hsinchu, Taiwan is to call it the biggest international heist, in broad daylight, of Taiwan’s biggest and most valuable manufacturing facility and intellectual property theft, estimated to be worth 4% of Taiwan’s GNP, considered by the people of Taiwan to be their 护国神山, ever undertaken in human history by the U.S. government.
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Truth : US Is NOT Stealing TSMC Chip Technologies From Taiwan!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), and shared by pro-CCP netizens, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : No Evidence Professor Ling-Chin Wang Wrote It
First, let’s establish some basic facts about Professor Ling-Chi Wang. He is an ethnologist (not technologist), which means he studies and teaches about cultures and societies, not chips or technology.
He is also a Professor Emeritus of Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley, which means he is retired.
There is no evidence that Professor Ling Chin-Wang wrote any part of the viral message. He is not on Facebook, and he has not posted anything on his official LinkedIn page either.
The earliest and most complete example of this viral message appears to be written by a Chinese writer called Yu Ligong, who posted it on Facebook on 24 November 2022.
Fact #2 : No Evidence Professor John V. Walsh Wrote It
John V. Walsh was a professor of physiology and neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. He has since retired.
He writes on issues of peace and healthcare, but there is no evidence he actually wrote that small section about turning Taiwan into a porcupine of American weapons, or Ukraine 2.0.
Again, the earliest example appears to be the Facebook post by the Chinese writer, Yu Ligong.
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Fact #3 : TSMC Is Not Shifting Their Existing Fabs To US
The viral post falsely claims that the US government paid billions to relocate TSMC to the United States, airlifting its manufacturing facility to Arizona.
That’s not true – TSMC will still remain in Taiwan, where most of its fabs are located. The new Arizona fab will merely be another one of its many fabs. That’s why it’s known as Fab 21.
It is also impossible to “airlift” a semiconductor fabrication plant. Have you seen how massive it is?
Fact #4 : TSMC Owns Arizona Fab 21
The viral post falsely claims that the US government is robbing Taiwan of its prized intellectual property – TSMC’s most advanced chip technologies.
That’s patently false, because TSMC isn’t building a semiconductor plant for the US government. TSMC is building a new fab in Arizona, which it will fully own.
The TSMC Arizona plant, when fully completed, will be one of the most advanced semiconductor fabs in the world, producing both 3-nanometer and 5-nanometer chips.
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Fact #5 : TSMC Owns Its Intellectual Property
Regardless of where it builds its wafer fabs, TSMC continues to own its intellectual property, except possibly in China.
This was pointed out by Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger in his June 2022 op-ed arguing for more subsidies for American chipmakers.
… foreign chipmakers vying for U.S. subsidies will keep their valuable intellectual property on their own shores, ensuring that the most lucrative and cutting-edge manufacturing stays there and requiring the U.S. to make the difficult choice between forgoing the advanced chips necessary for critical national security applications or relying on insecure, foreign supply chains for them.
Unlike China, the United States does not demand technology transfers to gain access to its massive market. So no, the US does not gain TSMC’s intellectual properties just because it subsidises Fab 21 in Arizona.
It may be different in China, where the CCP government is notorious for insisting on technology transfers.
Fact #6 : TSMC Arizona Is Second US Fab
TSMC Arizona isn’t even the first semiconductor plant the Taiwanese company built in the United States.
Back in 1995, TSMC started work on a $1.2 billion semiconductor plant called Fab 11 at Camas, Washington, which produces 8-inch wafers.
Fact #7 : TSMC Has Two Fabs In China!
If the writer believes that building a fab overseas means that the foreign country owns TSMC’s intellectual property, then it would mean that China “stole” TSMC’s intellectual property as well.
That’s because TSMC has not one, but TWO wafer fabs in China!
- Fab 10 in Shanghai, which produces 200 mm wafers
- Fab 16 in Nanjing, which produces 300 mm wafers
In April 2021, TSMC announced that it would expand capacity at their Nanjing fab, which it would also upgrade to produce smaller 16 nm chips.
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Fact #8 : This Is Just Chinese Propaganda
This is just another example of Chinese propaganda created by the infamous Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛).
All of the wumao articles and videos that I looked at so far have proven to be false… at every instance. So please watch out for such false claims.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
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