Silicon Gold Rush

Taiwan’s chip makers can’t resist the lure of China, the world’s largest consumer of semiconductors

11 min read
Photo of  the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co's newest plant, in the Songjiang suburb of Shanghai, China.
A Piece of the Action: Last year, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. opened the doors of its newest plant, in the Songjiang suburb of Shanghai, China, giving its customers greater access to the huge Chinese electronics market.
Photo: TSMC

In just 15 years, the farmland of the Pudong district of Shanghai has disappeared under gleaming skyscrapers, monuments to, among other things, the fastest-growing semiconductor industry in the world. Within this charmed circle, the fastest-growing start-up is Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC). In the five years since its founding, it has become the leading chip maker in China, the next big chip-making power in the world.

Ironically, China’s ascendance in semiconductors is almost entirely attributable to assistance from Taiwanese technologists. SMIC itself was founded by a Chinese-American raised in Taiwan, and many of its employees are from Taiwan. Hundreds of them, just weeks off the airplane, are bedding down in the company’s massive employee community, complete with gym, supermarket, beauty parlors, and a school for 1200 children.

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Video Friday: Turkey Sandwich

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
A teleoperated humanoid robot torso stands in a kitchen assembling a turkey sandwich from ingredients on a tray

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

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