The Rundown: Smart Manufacturing Alliance, SMIC Blacklisting, and Food Delivery Surge

Photo: Official Facebook Page of Vice President William Lai

A bi-weekly snapshot of Taiwan business news stories brought to you by CommonWealth and AmCham Taipei’s TOPICS

Smart Manufacturing Alliance Established

On October 6, two of Taiwan’s foremost industrial associations, the Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI) and the Taiwan Electric and Electronics Manufacturing Association (TEEMA), announced the formation of the Taiwan Smart Manufacturing Alliance at a ceremony attended by Vice President William Lai. Members of the alliance include over 20 equipment producers and manufacturers, as well as the Industrial Technology Research Association (ITRI), the Institute for Information Industry (III), and the Precision Machinery Research & Development Center.

The two associations stated that launching the alliance would hopefully help Taiwan’s industry seize new smart manufacturing opportunities and leverage the strength of the island’s industrial clusters to further the island’s digital transformation. Further, it would converge the strengths and capabilities of government, industry, and academia to pave the road for Taiwan to become an Asian hub of high value manufacturing.

Photo: Official Facebook Page of Vice President William Lai

In addition to these objectives, the alliance will also launch a publicly available smart machinery cloud computing platform, which will link together the smart application software services developed by members, with the goal of making Taiwan’s industry more globally competitive. Thus far, 45 software programs have been developed and tested on the platform, and that number is expected to rise to 98 by year’s end.

Taiwan could be real winner in SMIC blacklisting

China’s largest foundry company, the partially state-owned Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, became the latest casualty in the U.S.-China tech war after the U.S. began imposing export restrictions on the company’s products in late September. SMIC announced last week that due to the sanctions, some of its suppliers have ceased fulfilling orders of goods such as raw materials and equipment, and companies that normally source their chips from SMIC have already begun looking elsewhere.

The general market consensus is that Taiwan’s semiconductor manufacturing industry will be the biggest beneficiary of transferred orders from SMIC. Of Taiwan’s major chip manufacturers, United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) looks set to reap the biggest advantage as it has the most overlap with SMIC in terms of production capacity, particularly of the 8-inch wafer. UMC has recently raised the price of its 8-inch wafers by 20%, and the company’s stock value soared after announcement of the sanctions was made.

Credit card spending surges as more Taiwanese order in

According to data released by the National Credit Card Center of the R.O.C., Taiwanese consumers made a total of 4.39 million credit card purchases on food delivery platforms in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began intensifying, a 76% increase from the month previous. In April, that number rose another 40% to a record 6 million credit card purchases, seven times that of the same period last year.  

Food delivery platforms have seen their income from such purchases rise each month as well. In March, purchases totaled NT$850 million, rising to NT$1.26 billion in April.

Even when Taiwan’s COVID-19 situation was brought under control, credit card spending on food delivery remained high, with total consumption reaching NT$1 billion or more each month in May and June. This trend indicates that ordering in has already become a normal part of Taiwanese peoples’ lives.

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