AES Semigas


14 May 2024

UK–APAC Tech Growth Programme report highlights opportunities in Taiwan

Opportunities for UK companies across the semiconductor industry in Taiwan are revealed in a new report by international business development consultancy Intralink, which delivers the UK–APAC Tech Growth Programme on behalf of the UK Government.

Taiwan dominates many parts of global chip design and manufacturing, but the report says it is seeking to strengthen its position further in the face of a constrained energy supply, talent outflow and strong competition from China and South Korea. The report reckons that this opens the door to UK companies with innovative solutions and an aspiration to expand globally.

The semiconductor industry comprises about 12% of Taiwan’s GDP and is valued at £74.7bn, according to the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association. The report says that Taiwanese companies account for 78% of foundry (manufacturing) revenue, 21% of integrated circuit (IC) design revenue and 52% of assembly, test and packaging (ATP) revenue globally.  It is the island’s key industry and its growth is being accelerated by increased demand for chips, driven in turn by advancements in AI, 5G, 6G, electric vehicles and high-performance computing.

However, the report also highlights that, while Taiwan is strong in the ‘mid-stream’ manufacturing and ATP segments of the industry, it relies on international companies for many ‘upstream’ technologies, i.e. the production of raw materials and components used in the manufacturing process such as silicon wafers, chemicals, gases and photomasks. It also relies on international technologies to facilitate the ‘downstream’ stage, during which its chips are integrated into end products such as mobile phones and cars.

Intellectual property (IP) is an area of particular relevance to UK semiconductor firms, according to report author Stewart Randall, head of Intralink’s Electronics Practice. He argues that well-established UK chip IP companies such as ARM and Imagination are highly regarded in Taiwan, and this confers credibility onto smaller British IP companies seeking to strike deals.

The report identifies areas that represent immediate opportunities for UK firms in Taiwan, including:

  1. Compound semiconductors – e.g. for technologies such as telecommunications, optoelectronics and solar cells. Taiwan has a nascent mid-stream compound semiconductor industry but needs world-leading technologies, such as those being developed by many UK firms.
  2. Manufacturing equipment – Taiwan operates the largest foundries in the world but relies on imports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. A number of UK companies have already forged successful commercial relationships in this area.
  3. Resource management – Taiwan is keen to expand its manufacturing capacity but is struggling to balance the water required by its foundries with the needs of agriculture and the general population. It is also seeking ways to optimize its energy usage, adopt cleaner and renewable energy sources and implement energy-efficient technologies to reduce its carbon footprint and comply with international sustainability standards. This presents significant potential for UK tech firms to offer innovative solutions in these fields.

“The Taiwanese government and industry welcome overseas technologies that can help grow the island’s position as the world’s semiconductor leader,” notes Randall. “While breaking into Taiwan can seem challenging, the UK–APAC Tech Growth Programme can make it easier,” he adds. “As a first step, the programme can help companies to understand Taiwan’s specific needs and the competitive landscape. It can then support them in starting to build connections, generate leads, sign partnerships and secure sales deals.”

Backed jointly by the UK Department for Business & Trade and Department for Science, Innovation & Technology, the UK–APAC Tech Growth Programme is aimed at scaleups throughout the UK with significant international growth potential.

The UK–APAC Tech Growth Programme helps UK tech companies to expand in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Taiwan.

See related items:

UK tech firms start commercial negotiations at SEMICON Korea

ITRI to strengthen Taiwan–UK collaboration

Opportunities for UK companies to collaborate with Taiwan

UK’s CSA Catapult and Taiwan’s ITRI sign MoU

Tags: ITRI CSA Catapult




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