© Reuters. Semiconductor chips are seen on a printed circuit board in this illustration picture taken February 17, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration
TAIPEI (Reuters) – The US-led “Fab 4” semiconductor alliance of Taiwan, the United States, Japan and South Korea held its first video meeting of senior officials last week focused on supply chain resilience, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
The United States last September convened the first meeting of the working group, colloquially called “Fab 4” or “Chip 4”, to discuss how to strengthen the semiconductor supply chain, after a global chip crunch caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The semiconductor shortage, which forced some carmakers to halt production, thrust chip powerhouse Taiwan into the spotlight and has made supply chain management a bigger priority for governments around the world.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said the “US-East Asia Semiconductor Supply Chain Resilience Working Group”, or “Fab 4”, had after many months of coordination held the first video meeting of senior officials from its working group on Feb. 16.
“The focus of the discussions of the participating quartet at the meeting was mainly on how to maintain the resilience of the semiconductor supply chain and explore the possible future cooperation directions of all parties,” the ministry said in a statement.
“As an important member of the Indo-Pacific region, our country also plays a key role in the global semiconductor industry, and has deep economic and trade relations with countries in the region.”
The ministry did not elaborate on which officials took part in the meeting.
President Tsai Ing-wen has said that Taiwan is committed to ensuring its partners have reliable supplies of semiconductors, which it has called “democracy chips”, and has urged allies to boost collaboration amid intensified threats from China.
Beijing views democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory.
The “Fab” in the name refers to a shorthand industry expression for the fabrication plants where chips, used in everything from fridges and smartphones to fighter jets, are made.
The group’s members are home to the world’s largest contract chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd, South Korean memory chip giants Samsung Electronics (OTC:) Co Ltd and SK Hynix, and key Japanese suppliers of semiconductor materials and equipment.