Local semiconductor industry changes game plan as playing field shifts due to geopolitics, Covid-19

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 23): Between global supply chain disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to the great decoupling between the US and China, it seems semiconductor and semiconductor-related firms in Malaysia simply could not catch their breath since the beginning of this year.

It is estimated that the pandemic and the movement control order (MCO) imposed to curb its spread in Malaysia have caused cumulative losses — in the electrical and electronics (E&E) industry alone — of RM7.28 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and RM29.12 billion to total exports.

Furthermore, demand is also a question mark, given that sales of smartphones and smart devices are expected to slow down due to weak consumer sentiment.

Adding fuel to the fire is the intensified trade war, with the US trying to wrestle the global tech supply chain back from China as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) revealed its plan to build a new US$12 billion (RM52.36 billion) chip manufacturing plant in Arizona, the US.

TSMC is not only a major supplier to US tech giant Apple Inc, but also to Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, which Washington has put on a trade blacklist.

Against the backdrop of a major shift, not just in consumer behaviour and industrial needs, but also complicated geopolitics of the tech war, Malaysian firms are ready to re-strategise their game plans.

Read all about this in the latest issue of The Edge Malaysia weekly out now.


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