The U.S. Has a Microchip Problem. Safeguarding Taiwan Is the Solution


Oct 3, 2022

Microchips on a production line, photo by venuestock/Getty Images

Photo by venuestock/Getty Images

This commentary originally appeared on The Atlantic on October 3, 2022.

Taiwan's domination of the microchip industry has been a boon to the global economy, but it now presents an acute challenge. Taiwan today manufactures most of the world's microchips, which are in practically everything: cars, coffeemakers, combine harvesters. The whole world hums with microelectronic components—including about 92 percent of all advanced microchips—that are made largely in a handful of factories on an island less than one-tenth the size of California. Little more than 100 miles away across a strait lies mainland China, which views Taiwan as a breakaway region and has vowed to bring it back under its control.

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Jason Matheny is president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.