Eric Schmidt urges US to lean on TSMC, Samsung for chip security

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The US should do more to encourage foreign chipmakers to build factories on its soil for national security purposes. Google CEO Eric Schmidt wrote in an article published on Monday.
Pointing to China’s accelerating investment in technology and chip manufacturing capacity, Schmidt urged the US to reduce its reliance on Taiwan and South Korea for the most advanced semiconductors used in everything from smartphones to ballistic missiles and build up its own capabilities.

Instead, it should incentivize the national champions Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung According to him, Electronics Co. will partner with American chip designers and build more in the US.

International scholar Graham Ellison, who shares a Wall Street Journal op-ed with Schmidt, has previously warned that the US and China could be heading for a war neither wants. The two men laid out policy recommendations to improve America’s competitiveness in the chip maker race to avoid a sharp imbalance between the two superpowers.

“If Beijing develops long-term advantages in the semiconductor supply chain, it will lead to breakthroughs in fundamental technologies that the US cannot match,” they write. “The US cannot find a way out of this predicament.”

In addition to President Joe Biden’s proposed $52 billion investment plan, which is still under consideration by U.S. lawmakers, the U.S. should build on its R&D strengths by producing less advanced but more widely used slower chips using similar Intel Corp. and GlobalFoundries Inc., and to redouble efforts to bring TSMC and Samsung ashore.

Both Asian companies are building factories in the US, but Schmidt and Allison’s message is that more needs to be done to ensure long-term prosperity for the US.

“America is on the brink of losing the chip competition,” they said, calling on “the US government to mobilize a national effort like the one that created the technology that won World War II.”

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