Tough road ahead for U.S. firms trying to cut reliance on Taiwan chipmakers

2 months ago 25

Taiwanese chipmakers are up of their planetary rivals and it volition beryllium pugnacious for U.S. tech companies to trim their reliance connected Taiwan, said Sebastian Hou from CLSA.

Tech firms similar Apple, Amazon, Google arsenic good arsenic Qualcomm, NVIDIA and AMD trust heavy connected Taiwanese declaration manufacturers to nutrient up to 90% of their chips, according to Hou, who is managing manager and caput of tech probe astatine the brokerage firm.

"It's going to beryllium a challenging and agelong travel for them to diversify away, and reasoning astir however agelong it takes for the spot improvement and practice — it's going to instrumentality a while," helium said Monday connected CNBC's "Street Signs Asia."

Semiconductors are utilized successful everything, from smartphones and computers to cars arsenic good arsenic location appliances.

While the United States dominates the planetary semiconductor marketplace stock by revenue, Asia is the manufacturing powerhouse, according to a caller study from Bank of America. Asian countries nutrient much than 70% of planetary semiconductors — Taiwan and South Korea, successful particular, person established unrivaled positions successful high-end spot manufacturing capacity, the study said.

A antheral walks past TSMC's logo astatine the company's office successful Hsinchu, Taiwan. TSMC is the world's largest semiconductor foundry.

Sam Yeh | AFP | Getty Images

The global semiconductor shortage and geopolitical tensions with China has heightened Washington's scrutiny of the proviso chain. It has triggered a thrust to bring manufacturing backmost to American ungraded to regain enactment and earmarked billions of dollars for its efforts. The U.S. is besides said to beryllium looking astatine alliances with different countries.

Upside for Taiwan chipmakers

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world's largest spot foundry, is up much than 13% year-to-date. Its rival United Microelectronics Corp — seen arsenic a distant 2nd to TSMC successful Taiwan's declaration spot manufacturing abstraction — is up astir 16% successful the aforesaid period.

CLSA has a "buy" standing connected TSMC and a terms people of 825 New Taiwan dollars ($28.97) — that's a 35% upside from Friday's close.

The brokerage has an "outperform" standing connected UMC and a terms people of 62 New Taiwan ($2.18), a 16.76% upside from past week's close.

Hou explained that betwixt the 2 stocks, TSMC has a higher hazard — owed to a wider dispersed betwixt its people terms and existent stock terms — but it offers greater returns. He added that the terms people is "highly achievable" since the institution is expected to support exertion enactment implicit the adjacent 5 years and customers are acceptable to trust heavy connected it.

China's SMIC lagging

A study from marketplace probe steadfast TrendForce ranked China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) 5th by gross among the world's apical 10 foundries successful February, based connected estimated archetypal 4th numbers.

SMIC is China's largest and astir important chipmaker — it is seen arsenic cardinal to Beijing's plans for self-sufficiency successful the semiconductor space, pursuing tensions with Washington. Last December, the U.S. blacklisted SMIC, and restricted American companies from exporting exertion to the firm.

Hou explained that it is astir intolerable for SMIC to drawback up with TSMC and different chipmakers successful airy of the U.S. sanctions.

The exertion spread betwixt SMIC and TSMC is presently astir six years, helium said. If SMIC cannot get the exertion it needs to bolster its high-end spot manufacturing capacity, it volition autumn down adjacent further, Hou said.

"Which means, it not lone cannot drawback up, but the spread volition further beryllium widened," Hou said, adding the spread whitethorn widen to betwixt 7 to 9 years.

A study past period from Reuters said the U.S. authorities has been dilatory to o.k. licenses for American firms to merchantability chipmaking instrumentality to SMIC.