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Taiwan and U.K. Strengthening Semiconductor Supply Chains

Image credit: itri.org.tw

The newly established Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT) of the United Kingdom has released its National Semiconductor Strategy, outlining intentions to invest £1 billion (S$1.85 billion) in the semiconductor industry over the next decade.

Dr Shih-Chieh Chang of Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has expressed interest in collaborating with the United Kingdom, emphasising Taiwan’s reliability as a partner. The purpose of the collaboration is to leverage the strengths of both nations to accomplish mutually beneficial outcomes.

He emphasised that ITRI’s expertise in semiconductor technology research and development can be complemented by the United Kingdom’s capabilities in semiconductor IP design and compound semiconductor technology.

ITRI can provide consultation services for advanced packaging pilot lines, assist with pre-production evaluation, and connect UK semiconductor IP design firms to Taiwan’s industrial chain. This collaboration would benefit both Taiwan and the United Kingdom by enhancing the resilience of the semiconductor supply chain.

In recent years, the United Kingdom has increased its collaboration with Taiwan on semiconductors. The Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult (CSA Catapult) signed an MOU with ITRI in 2020, and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) is concentrating on the Digital Trade Network in Taiwan to increase semiconductor trade and investment.

The Digital Trade Network will serve as a platform to facilitate and streamline trade processes, improve information exchange, and encourage greater collaboration in the semiconductor industry. By leveraging digital technologies and connectivity, the network will facilitate the exchange of expertise, market insights, and business opportunities between British and Taiwanese businesses.

The objective is to foster an environment conducive to increased bilateral trade, investment, and knowledge transmission in the semiconductor industry, thereby fostering economic expansion and innovation in both countries.

In addition, the British Office in Taipei recognises ITRI’s role in the development of Taiwan’s semiconductor industry and seeks additional cooperation in the areas of technological innovation, supply chain collaboration, and partnership strengthening.

Dr Shih-Chieh proposed several collaborative initiatives to align with the UK’s National Semiconductor Strategy objectives. These include establishing relevant pilot lines, providing necessary resources, and providing design, packaging, and testing consultation services. Such partnerships would reduce the United Kingdom’s reliance on external suppliers, generate employment opportunities, and strengthen the nation’s resilience in the global market.

ITRI has already partnered with a British manufacturer of semiconductor apparatus and a manufacturer of semiconductor intellectual property, resulting in accomplishments in a variety of fields. These collaborations have contributed to the development and analysis of Micro LED, silicon photonics, and nanoscale, among others. ITRI intends to expand its collaborative efforts with the United Kingdom in 2023, creating win-win opportunities for both parties.

The country believes that digital tools enable sophisticated design and simulation capabilities, enabling engineers to create and test complex semiconductor architectures with greater precision and velocity. This accelerates product development cycles and enables innovative design creation.

During semiconductor manufacturing, digitalisation facilitates real-time monitoring and data analysis, facilitating early detection of defects or anomalies. This contributes to increased product quality, dependability, and yield rates, resulting in cost savings and customer satisfaction.

Also, digitalisation improves supply chain visibility and coordination throughout the semiconductor industry. It enables real-time data sharing, inventory management, demand forecasting, and logistics optimisation, resulting in increased supply chain efficiency, decreased lead times, and lower costs.

The incorporation of digital technologies into the semiconductor industry allows for seamless connectivity with the Internet of Things (IoT). This facilitates the development of intelligent devices and systems, which creates new market opportunities and drives innovation in industries such as automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, and industrial automation.

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