Now Semiconductor Supply Threatened By Spike In Taiwan Covid-19 Cases

May 17, 2021 by Dave Haynes

One small, positive note about the global semiconductor shortage was how a lot of the supply comes from Taiwan, which has largely kept COVID-19 out of the country and normal operations. Until now.

The Taiwan-based tech publication Digitimes reports that island country is now dealing with a spike in case counts, with 335 new infections logged on Monday.

With Taiwan encountering a sudden rise in the number of domestically transmitted COVID-19 infections, concerns about the stability of Taiwan’s IC industry supply chain have emerged, reports Digitimes.

TSMC and other Taiwan-based foundries remain diligent in their respective precautionary measures internally against COVID-19, amid concerns over a spike in confirmed cases in Taiwan. Nevertheless, potential coronavirus-induced lockdowns in Taipei and other cities may pose a threat to the local chipmaking industry supply chain, according to industry sources.

As the world’s largest IC foundry with a more than 50% market share, TSMC has stepped up its already stringent precautionary measures against the coronavirus, the sources said. TSMC in early 2020 had one employee infected with the virus.

Taiwan is also where United Microelectronics (UMC), Vanguard International Semiconductor (VIS) and Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing (PSMC) are headquartered and run their major factory sites. It remains to be seen whether the latest COVID-19 surge can be brought under control soon and limit its impact on the domestic IC industry supply chain, the sources noted.

TSMC, UMC, VIS and PSMC have all given their upbeat business outlook for 2021, with plans to build additional 12- and 8-inch fab capacities.

The 335 new cases is a record single-day rise, and is linked to community spread. Almost all of the cases in the capital, Taipei, have been traced to “hostess teahouses.”

New social distancing measures are closing bars, clubs and gyms around the island, and restricting indoor gatherings in Taipei and the surrounding areas to five people.

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