Semiconductors opportunities in emerging markets

Colley Hwang; Judy Lin, DIGITIMES Asia 0

India is bound to be a strategic partner for the United States in terms of demographics, domestic market, software talents, and national strategy.

China, which intends to challenge the global hegemony of the United States, is a world-class power. If "Taiwan belongs to China", then the balance of power of the world would have already been different. To keep China in check, in addition to the first island chain of Taiwan, Japan, and Korea linking into a "technological island chain", India is bound to be a strategic partner for the United States in terms of demographics, domestic market, software talents, and national strategy.

By 2035, India will have 380 million more people under the age of 39 than China. The country boasts 108 unicorn startups.

Local companies such as TATA, Reliance, and TVS all have the strength to build up local brands. Moreover, the country's young population will be the key to success in the metaverse and other business opportunities in related fields.

India is already the world's third-largest automobile market, the second-largest smartphone, and the largest two-wheeled vehicle market. High levels of air pollution are likely to drive the country's shift toward shift electric vehicles.

Encouraged by the US policy to migrate supply chains, Apple, Micron, etc. are actively investing in India. Taiwan's Hon Hai, Pegatron, and Delta are also cultivating their supply chains in the country

Even if India cannot replace China, its position in the global supply chain is on the rise.

Outside-in vs. Inside-out

Apart from China and India, many emerging countries with abundant natural resources will compete with different strategies. It would be unwise to overlook these participants who have entered the semiconductor competition from the sidelines.

Vietnam and Mexico enjoy geographical advantages. They will be the first to benefit from the changing US-China relationship.

From the perspective of the amount of SMT equipment for automated production that the two countries have imported, we can see that Mexico and Vietnam will be the fastest-growing countries in terms of demand for semiconductors in the next 5~10 years. Singapore and Malaysia, two countries with small populations and limited domestic markets, have adopted a strategy to actively attract foreign investment in the semiconductor industry.

Now there are more than 10 fabs in Singapore. With a limited population and natural resources, Singapore has been able to use its tax and government efficiency to attract many large factories to set up a presence in the country.

Thanks to "China + 1" and "Taiwan + 1", Singapore offers a strong contrast to other countries and is even attracting Taiwanese businessmen to deploy their subsidiaries there.

I often tell people that Taiwanese firms have been forced to go "inside-out" due to the political environment and population and resource limitations. However, Singapore which lacks substantive advantages in those physical resources, bringing external resources to the country.

The contrast between Taiwan and Singapore demonstrates that with the right strategy and administrative efficiency, industrial development is not an unattainable goal. Malaysia, securing a place in the first wave of semiconductor competition, successfully attracts companies like Infineon.


Canada and Australia also have their roles to play in geopolitics, green energy, materials, and talent competitions against the backdrop of the world's increasing focus on ESG. Canada and Australia have advantages in natural resources and a common Anglo-Saxon heritage.

If Canada and Australia, which run education as an industry, cooperate with Taiwan to manage "semiconductor talent training centers", they would carve out their niche amid a global shortage of semiconductor talent.

By attracting STEM talent from ASEAN countries, and expanding the scale of student and professor exchanges with Taiwan's top universities of science and technology, Australia and Canada would be able to take advantage of the business opportunities of Taiwan's talent-hungry semiconductor manufacturers and IC design companies.

In the era of globalization, the US led the technology race, and Japan, Korea, and both sides of the Taiwan Strait benefited from an open and free trade environment. However, as the world moves from globalization to and into the dawn of "de-globalization" and the regional division of labor, all enterprises will face new challenges.

Europe, not willing to be left alone, is beckoning the big players in Asia. It remains to be seen whether the emerging countries in Asia, as well as Canada and Australia, will also participate in the semiconductor competition.

Credit: AFP

Credit: AFP

Colley Hwang, president of DIGITIMES Asia, is a tech industry analyst with more than three decades of experience under his belt. He has written several books about the trends and developments of the tech industry, including Asian Edge: On the Frontline of the ICT World published in 2019, and Disconnected ICT Supply Chain: New Power Plays Unfolding published in 2020.