China claims Taiwan as its territory and has stepped up military pressure to back up those claims. This includes staging war games near the island. Now the candidates for the vice presidency of the region are arguing about the company's investments abroad. The opposition candidate claims that tensions with China have made Taiwan a dangerous place to invest.
The campaign trail has often cited the world's largest contract chipmaker as the island's most important company, according to Reuters news agency. However, the campaign has more often discussed issues affecting the sector, including grid stability and water scarcity.
What Taiwan's presidential candidates say about TSMC
In a live televised debate, Jau Shou-kong, the vice-presidential candidate of Taiwan's largest opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, said that before entering the presidential race, he met with American investors who asked him if there was a war.
Shou-kong blames the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for tensions with China, saying: “If Taiwan does not have a peaceful environment, no one will dare to invest.” Our TSMC wants to escape abroad. Taiwan plus one – one factory in Taiwan, one overseas that destroys our Taiwan.
TSMC is already building factories in Japan and the US state of Arizona. The chip maker is also planning another plant in Germany. However, the company and the Taiwanese government have repeatedly indicated that the bulk of production, which includes making the most advanced chips, will remain on the island.
Responding to Shaw-Kong, DPP vice-presidential candidate Hsiao Bi-khim, who was also Taiwan's de facto ambassador to the US, said foreign investment had reached a record high under the DPP administration.
Bi-hee said: “TSMC is the pride of Taiwan and should not be used for political competition or consumption. This is our holy mountain, the protector of the country. We hope that all businesses in Taiwan will have everyone's blessings in the process of global deployment. “
He also added that TSMC makes decisions about their global qualifications based on industry and customer needs.