Taiwan’s diplomat in Washington, Alexander Yui, has leveled serious accusations against China for attempting to rival Taiwan’s semiconductor industry prowess through dishonest means, including intellectual property theft. In an interview with Reuters, Yui dismissed the notion that China’s chip sector could soon rival Taiwan’s, especially in production of chips on leading-edge nodes. China’s ambassador in the U.S. denies any wrongdoing by Chinese companies.
The de-facto ambassador of Taiwan in the U.S. accused Chinese chipmakers of circumventing standard practices of innovation and instead resorting to dishonest methods to advance their capabilities. Despite significant investments, Yui remains skeptical of China’s ability to produce leading-edge processors that could compete on the global stage, especially in the face of concerted efforts by the U.S. to curb Beijing’s technological ambitions through export restrictions and other measures.
“They do not really follow the rules,” Yui told Reuters. “They cheat and they copy, etc. They steal technology.” Yui said
Truth to be told, China’s chip champion Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. stole TSMC’s process technologies in the early 2000s and was found guilty of this twice. However, modern technologies, such as 7nm and 5nm process nodes are so sophisticated that it is close to impossible to steal them. Therefore, instead of stealing advanced fabrication technologies, SMIC hires specialists from TSMC and Samsung Foundry to develop them in-house these days.
A representative from the Chinese embassy in the United States described the allegation as lacking in common sense and being motivated by spite.
“China’s scientific and technological achievements are never made through ‘cheating’ and ‘stealing’,” embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu told Reuters. “Our development is always built on our own strength, and we are confident of continuing to strengthen China’s capability to seek self-reliance and technological innovation.”
The dialogue also touched on the accusations made by Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate for the 2024 U.S. presidential election, who argued that Taiwan was stealing American jobs in the semiconductor industry. Yui refuted these claims by emphasizing the strategic investments Taiwanese companies are making in the U.S., specifically mentioning TSMC’s significant investments in Arizona fabs, which make Taiwan a partner to the U.S., not a competitor.
Finally, Yui emphasized the bipartisan support Taiwan enjoys in the U.S., dismissing the idea that the island’s technological advancements and security interests are subject to partisan politics.