Taiwan's domestic market is small but the export-oriented semiconductor industry actually depend heavily on the domestic environment. As TSMC CEO CC Wei has noted, the number of semiconductors in automobiles is increasing at a rate of 15% per year. What it really means is that there are huge opportunities and the key is whether you are competitive enough to gain portions of them.
Taiwan's semiconductor industry has a solid foundation. Compared to external competition, I think the real challenge lies within the country itself. The number of young people is decreasing, and it's time we step up recruitment of foreign talent.
Business opportunities for the semiconductor industry are enormous, but will Taiwan be able to continue gaining momentum? Can it expand its leadership further to more semiconductor sectors? The political and business leaders in Taiwan must have a clear picture of the value of the industry and lead its development correctly: This is the real challenge. Taiwan is small, but it needs to be able to contribute to the world "selflessly" in order to win others' respect and applause.
In the IoT era, business opportunities come in multiple forms, and the final winner will not be someone from a traditional industry that unscrupulously takes as much as possible. Taiwan makers used to compete with others head-to-head, but they are changing. Now Foxconn has been looking to work with local companies while setting up operations in India, Thailand and Indonesia. Times have changed, and we must change, too.
Taiwan's semiconductor makers are expanding their presence in the US, Europe and Japan, and even ASEAN and South Asian countries. The situations and environments in these countries are all different; but Taiwan has the high ground, and should take charge. We could win the war without firing a shot. If public opinion is on our side, then cross-border negotiations can be more easily done. What you need to do is take stock of your assets, clean up your inventory and prepare for the next battle.
The semiconductor industry has seen ups and downs over the past decades, and it is not afraid to take up challenges.
Despite the economic headwinds, unemployment rates in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand have dropped to low levels recently. The unemployment rate in the US was only 3.5% in July. But in China, the unemployment rate of young people aged 18-24 was at an alarming level of 19.9%. There's an imbalance between the East and West, which spells trouble for the coming two years. Ageing populations and low birth rates are common problems in industrial countries. Cross-border investments must also involve talent recruitment and training, so as to build a strong foundation for Taiwan makers' future operations.
Air and sea transport faces bottlenecks, and labor shortage is also a problem, resulting in massive flight cancellations. The IMF forecasts declines for the economy of major countries around the world, and in July even revised down the global GDP growth rate to 3.2%.
Taiwan's exports value grew 19.2% in the first half of 2022, during which imports value rose 24.7%. Taiwan's Taoyuan Airport was the fourth largest airport in the world in terms of cargo transportation in 2021. If a decentralized production system is formed, Taoyuan Airport will see even more opportunities.
With Taipei as the front door and Taoyuan Airport and Hsinchu Science Park as the hub, Taiwan can share its industrial competitiveness with the world.