Safe-minded: the risk management of the semiconductor industry right?

Although the strong earthquake in the eastern part of Taiwan this time has almost zero impact on the IC industry, it is still a good time to carefully examine the adequacy of supply chain risk management.
On the eastern coast of Taiwan (Hualien) in Taiwan, a strong earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale occurred on February 6, while another 6.1 earthquake of magnitude 6.1 occurred in the same area in the previous two days. The island is located in a seismic zone and has multiple Plates collide with each other, but nearly one-third of the world's semiconductor components are manufactured here.Of particular note is that TSMC is currently Apple's sole source of supply for the iPhone's application processor. The chip foundry at this foundry makes virtually every cell phone on Earth, as well as every tablet, PC Indispensable with game consoles. What is certain is that there are several foundries Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) are located in the Tainan Science Park in the western part of Taiwan. This region has also had several recent history Epicenter of destructive earthquake.What we should not forget is that on Sept. 21, 1999, a strong earthquake of magnitude 7.3 on the Richter scale occurred in central Taiwan, resulting in the suspension of many factories in the Hsinchu Science Park for six days. As the price of memory soared, the share price of the global electronics industry was And now, after nearly two decades, Taiwan has played a more pivotal role in the global technology industry. We can imagine what will happen if there is a catastrophic earthquake in Tainan today.A few months ago I asked TSMC, the company's Tainan wafer plant can withstand much earthquakes? Their initial response was 7.3, but of course, I would give the company more time to provide a more detailed answer.Later, the answer I got was certainly more complicated than the simple earthquake scale numbers. TSMC said that each building construction will have different seismic capabilities according to its location. For example, the fab in Hsinchu and the Taichung or Tainan Of the fabs, the requirements for peak ground acceleration are different.Taiwan authorities have regulations on safety-related laws and regulations for each district's buildings. TSMC said the company's principle is to raise the safety standards set by law by 25% when building plants. Therefore, TSMC refers to the company's 12-inch fab can withstand the acceleration of 350 ~ 440 gal acceleration, see the location of the plant - gal equivalent to cm / s2, is widely used in the acceleration of gravity science units (compiled by: that is, The speed at which the object accelerates when it falls from a height).I admit that those of us journalists have a problem that they prefer to put all kinds of complicated questions in 800-word reports, so we tend to look for simpler and less complicated explanations; and I will agree with you that the earthquake is equivalent The complexity of a topic, and its impact depends on many different factors.However, you will understand why I've been paying attention to what TSMC gave me at the outset. The largest earthquake that Tainan Plant can tolerate is 7.3. According to historical records, the region of Tainan has happened in the past two centuries At least 3 times a 7.3 scale earthquake (reference link).The earthquake disaster in Taiwan highlighted one of the many risks that the global electronics industry may face because of the interdependence and consolidation of industries. Currently, memory chip suppliers around the world rely on only three large The factory, while the number of suppliers twenty years ago is 25 or more.As Mr. Zhang Zhongmou, chairman of TSMC, said, most IDM vendors in the world are already moving toward "wafer fabs" and continue to gradually reduce their investment in their fabs. We also see Broadcom trying to acquire Qualcomm, which is also struggling to complete its acquisition of NXP. The electronics industry ecosystem of the past was a network of broad foundations and has now grown to become a monopoly supplier with a few controls at the top to control production and prices.It reminds me of the warning from Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable," that we need to be careful about randomness The danger of the incident, as well as the need for antifragility. Is it time for the electronics industry to be more cautious than before to examine the properness of crisis management?Compile: Judith Cheng

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