As the chip shortage crisis continues to rage into the second half of 2021, and foundries like TSMC have begun to expand their capacities and hike their prices, it has become a turning point for Taiwan’s IC design industry.
Apart from the leading chip design company MediaTek, most of Taiwan’s IC design companies are small or medium in size. In other words, when competing for the foundry capacities, they are at a significant disadvantage. As competition from China intensifies under its interventionist industrial policy, the threat against Taiwan’s IC design industry has also increased.
Given this predicament, some in the Taiwanese IC design industry has made moves to diversify the risk. Traditionally, Taiwan’s chip design sector has been tied to consumer electronics and computers like PCs, laptops and mobile phones. Despite their role as a main growth driver, the entry barrier is low, and China has been catching up.
In response, data centers and automotive applications have become a strategic battleground to capture for Taiwanese chip designers. Even MediaTek has made moves into these new sectors, as shown in its acquisition of Intel’s power management chip business.