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3 April 2024, 8:30 am

Taiwan Quake Puts World's Most Advanced Chips at Risk news.slashdot.org

Taiwan Quake Puts World's Most Advanced Chips at Risk

Taiwan's biggest earthquake in 25 years has disrupted production at the island's semiconductor companies, raising the possibility of fallout for the technology industry and perhaps the global economy. From a report: The potential repercussions are significant because of the critical role Taiwan plays in the manufacture of advanced chips, the foundation of technologies from artificial intelligence and smartphones to electric vehicles. The 7.4-magnitude earthquake led to the collapse of at least 26 buildings, four deaths and the injury of 57 people across Taiwan, with much of the fallout still unknown. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest maker of advanced chips for customers like Apple and Nvidia, halted some chipmaking machinery and evacuated staff. Local rival United Microelectronics also stopped machinery at some plants and evacuated certain facilities at its hubs of Hsinchu and Tainan. Taiwan is the leading producer of the most advanced semiconductors in the world, including the processors at the heart of the latest iPhones and the Nvidia graphics chips that train AI models like OpenAI's ChatGPT. TSMC has become the tech linchpin because it's the most advanced in producing complex chips. Taiwan is the source of an estimated 80% to 90% of the highest-end chips -- there is effectively no substitute. Jan-Peter Kleinhans, director of the technology and geopolitics project at Berlin-based think tank Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, has called Taiwan "potentially the most critical single point of failure" in the semiconductor industry.

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