Taiwan says it is asking chip companies to help alleviate the car chip shortage

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Sunday it had received requests through diplomatic channels to help alleviate an automotive chip shortage and had asked local tech companies to provide “full assistance.”

Automakers around the world are shutting down assembly lines due to a global semiconductor shortage that has in some cases been exacerbated by the former Trump administration’s actions against major Chinese chip factories, according to industry officials.

The shortage has affected Ford Motor Co, Subaru Corp, Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen, Nissan Motor Co Ltd, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and other car manufacturers.

The government of Taiwan, home to the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), said it has been contacted by foreign governments about the issue.

“Since the end of last year, diplomatic channels have actually received requests from countries affected due to the shortage of car chips, “the Ministry of Economic Affairs said, after media reports that German economy minister Peter Altmaier wrote to the Taiwanese government about the problem.

The ministry said it has not yet received the letter from Germany and could not comment on its contents.

The ministry said major international carmakers are not direct customers of Taiwanese semiconductor chip makers, but that other automotive chip makers place orders with Taiwanese manufacturers and sell them to car makers.

“The relevant situation of supply and demand is also very close related to automotive chip factories plans to reduce stocks during the off-season, “the ministry said.

It said it has initiated talks with domestic chip suppliers in response to inquiries from other countries and “asked chip makers to provide full assistance.”

TSMC said in a statement that the issue of chip shortages for auto companies is very important to them.

“It’s our top priority and TSMC is working closely with our automotive customers to resolve capacity support issues,” he said.

Reportage by Jeanny Kao and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Tom Hogue