The World’s Top Chipmakers Can Flip A ‘Kill Switch’ Should China Invade Taiwan, Bloomberg Reports

According to a recent Bloomberg report, the world’s top chipmakers can flip a ‘kill switch’ should China invade Taiwan, effectively admitting that the semiconductor chips you’re buying come with a kill switch.

The World's Top Chipmakers Can Flip A 'Kill Switch' Should China Invade Taiwan, Bloomberg Reports 1

If China invades Taiwan, two of the biggest semiconductor companies in the world can remotely “kill switch” their most sophisticated chipmaking equipment, according to a Bloomberg article on Tuesday that cited people with knowledge of the situation.

Leading European tech business by market value, ASML, based in the Netherlands, provides cutting-edge machinery to semiconductor manufacturers. Among them is Taiwan’s TSMC, which is thought to be responsible for 90% of the world’s most sophisticated processor chips.

The announcement of a “kill switch,” or forced shutdown, on ASML’s chip-making equipment, coincides with growing tensions between Washington and Beijing as well as growing fears of a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which Beijing claims is its territory.

Taiwan is the global hub for semiconductor chips, which are widely utilized components found in everything from cell phones to data centers. The world economy would be severely impacted by a war in the region.

In November, the US enforced the Advanced Computing Chips Rule, which placed limitations on China because to national security concerns. The East Asian behemoth finds it more difficult to import cutting-edge AI chips from American producers as a result of the restrictions.

To restrict China’s capacity to produce cutting-edge chips, the US has also put pressure on the Netherlands to halt a portion of ASML exports to that nation. Furthermore, the Dutch business announced that it will no longer be maintaining some equipment that it had previously shipped to China.

However, US worries about a Chinese invasion of Taiwan are still present, and Washington has let Dutch and Taiwanese officials know about them, according to Bloomberg. According to the media site, ASML assured Dutch officials that they could activate the “kill switch” during their meeting with the business.

Bloomberg reports that the option applies to ASML’s range of cutting-edge extreme UV machines.

The biggest purchaser of these 200 million euros, or $217 million, machines is Taiwan’s TSMC. The tiny microchip transistors needed to create semiconductors for military and artificial intelligence applications are printed.

Rising concerns over Taiwan Strait developments

China’s increased military exercises near Taiwan have raised concerns since the country installed William Lai as president on Monday. Beijing has denounced Lai as a separatist.

Before Lai’s inauguration, Beijing increased military exercises in the area of Taiwan. Li Xi, a spokesman for China’s People’s Liberation Army, described the drills as a “strong punishment for the separatist acts of ‘Taiwan independence’ forces.”

Supply chains for the chip industry are evolving in the face of increased geopolitical unrest.

With a second site in Arizona and planned future operations in Germany and Japan, TSMC is expanding its production base. However, it will take time for new facilities to open.

Through the CHIPS Act, which offers billions of dollars in subsidies for domestic manufacture, research, and workforce development, the US is likewise taking steps to increase chip manufacturing.

However, Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia, stated on Bloomberg TV on Tuesday that Taiwanese manufacturing will probably continue to be a major source of technology for “some time.” Without the island, he claimed, it would be “very difficult” for Nvidia to service its clients.

The Dutch government, TSMC, and ASML declined to comment to Business Insider.

Last year, GreatGameIndia reported that Taiwan’s semi-official Central News Agency reported that the U.S. now has 200 military advisors in Taiwan.

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  1. “…effectively admitting that the semiconductor chips you’re buying come with a kill switch.”

    No, the equipment that MAKES the chips comes with a kill switch. Did the headline writer skip reading the article altogether?

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