Manufacturing News

Taiwan mulls lifting ban on semiconductor equipment exports to China

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is considering to lift the ban on exports of Taiwan-made chip-making tools to mainland China.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is considering to lift the ban on exports of Taiwan-made chip-making tools to mainland China after ASML of the Netherlands, the world's No.1 manufacturer of lithography for chipmakers, recently criticized the regulations.
ASML Taiwan's executives recently commented that Taiwan's ban on the exports will put 
a damper on foreign equipment suppliers intending to set up operations in Taiwan.
An increasing number of semiconductor equipment suppliers are rushing to open shops in Asia for a slice of the world's biggest market for the equipment. An estimated 70% of the US$50-70 billion market is in Asia, with mainland China growing more and more important as it is now the world's biggest market for semiconductor chips.
Taiwan now prohibits 21 models of chip-making equipment from being exported to mainland China, annoying foreign equipment suppliers operating shops on the island. ASML is constructing an NT$1.5 billion (US$45 million at US$1:NT$33) laboratory in Taiwan and last year received the ministry's subsidy on its plan to set up a training center in Taiwan.
The Industrial Development Bureau under the MOEA is reviewing the proposal to liberalize exports to the mainland. Homegrown equipment suppliers like Hermes-Epitek Corp. and Marktech International Corp. would be the primary beneficiaries once the ban is lifted.
Senior bureau officials pointed out that demands for new equipment as replacement for older types or system upgrade remain even during market recession and Taiwan could become foreign equipment suppliers' operation hub in Asia in consideration of the close cultural ties between the island and the mainland.

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