Political Turmoil Abroad: How Apple’s Chip Supplier is Caught in the Crossfire

TSMC, Apple’s chip supplier, has become the center of a political clash in Taiwan as the country gears up for its presidential elections on January 13.

The debate over TSMC arose as two vice presidential candidates in Taiwan argued about the company’s overseas investments and whether tensions with China made Taiwan too dangerous a place to invest.

Jaw Shaw-kong, the VP candidate for Taiwan’s Kuomintang (KMT) party, expressed concerns about the impact of potential conflict on foreign investment, blaming the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for tensions with China. He also mentioned TSMC’s interest in expanding overseas, stating that it could potentially “hollow out” Taiwan.

On the other hand, the DPP’s vice presidential candidate Hsiao Bi-khim, defended TSMC, calling it the pride of Taiwan and urging against using the company for political gain. She emphasized the importance of TSMC as a stronghold protecting the country.

TSMC, which is currently building factories in Japan and the U.S. state of Arizona, and planning another in Germany, did not immediately respond to the political dispute.

The clash over TSMC’s international investments reflects the broader regional tensions between Taiwan and China. China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has been increasing military pressure and staging war games near the island.

As the election date approaches, the debate over TSMC’s role in Taiwan’s international investments and its significance as a national asset will likely continue to be a central issue in the campaign.