Malaysia’s help needed to ease global semiconductor shortage, Taiwan says
- Malaysia is home to suppliers and factories serving European semiconductor makers as well as major carmakers including Toyota
- Taiwan’s Economy Minister Wang Mei-hua says the island, a major chip producer, cannot sort out the problem alone because the supply chain is so complex
Taiwan, as a major chip producer, has been front and centre of efforts to resolve the shortage, which has idled auto plants around the world.
The problem was especially acute with auto chip packaging, with companies in Malaysia providing services not offered by Taiwanese firms, Wang added.
“Now the focus is on Malaysia resuming production as soon as possible,” she said. “I know that Malaysia started to restore production capacity in early September, and now the production capacity has returned to about 80 per cent, so if their capacity can slowly come back, this problem can be slowly dealt with.”
The Southeast Asian country is home to suppliers and factories serving semiconductor makers such as Europe’s STMicroelectronics and Infineon, as well as major carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp and Ford Motor Co.
Malaysia Semiconductor Industry Association President Wong Siew Hai said major Malaysian semiconductor manufacturers were already running at full capacity to supply the car industry.
“For the automotive chips, they are doing their best to ship as much as possible, but the current capacity cannot meet demand because it’s too huge, the build-up is a lot,” he said. “Everything is at 100 per cent to satisfy the demand for automotive parts. Where they can increase productivity, they’re already doing so.”
Adding capacity will take time, with most available only next year, Wong said.
Malaysia accounts for 13 per cent of global chip packaging and testing, and 7 per cent of the world’s semiconductor trade passes through the country, with some value added at local factories and chips getting combined with other parts before final shipment.
The White House pressed carmakers, chip companies and others last month to provide information on the semiconductor crisis.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Wang reiterated the United States was not targeting Taiwanese firms and was voluntary, while Washington had assured Taipei that no sensitive information would be leaked.
If firms need help, the government will provide it, she added.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chip maker, said it would tell the government if any help was required.