The Dresden University of Technology has partnered with Taiwanese chip giant TSMC on an exchange-internship program to encourage the development of chip expertise.

TSMC is the largest semiconductor maker in the world, currently holding over 56% of the global market share in the industry.

Research by GlobalData found that in 2021 Taiwan and Korea accounted for 83% of global processor chip production and 70% of memory chip output.

The exchange will see around 50 students every year travel to Taiwanese universities to study for three months, followed by a three-month internship at TSMC. The program will begin in the spring of 2024, University President Ursula Staudinger said on Tuesday (19th Sept).

Research from the German Economic Institute in Cologne found that 33% of engineering supervisors in Germany’s semiconductor industry will retire in the next 10 to 12 years.

In August, TSMC announced it would build a $11bn plant in partnership with chip manufacturers Infineon, NXP and Bosch, in Dresden. The plant is expected to start production by late 2027.

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By GlobalData

As well as Germany, TSMC also plans to invest $40bn in a new plant in the US state of Arizona, as the US also joins the push for stronger semiconductor manufacturing on its own soil.

Governor of Arizona Katie Hobbs said on Tuesday that Arizona is in discussion with TSMC to further develop the state’s chip packaging industry.

Anonymous sources revealed last week that TSMC is considering Japan as its next overseas location whilst the chip maker struggles to hire skilled workers for its billion-dollar Arizona site, Reuters reported.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) has warned that the US chip industry will be short of around 67,000 workers by 2030. This would mean over 58% of design and manufacturing jobs could go unfilled. 

GlobalData analyst Carolina Pinto said: “Semiconductor manufacturing requires high-skilled workers for jobs that are typically low-paid, such as machine maintenance. It is difficult to establish profitable chip manufacturing hubs in developed economies where STEM wages are exceptionally high.”

“Apple has been a significant driving force in TSMC’s expansion to the US, in an attempt to reduce the company’s dependence on Chinese chips.”

“Disruption to global supply chains has pressured TSMC to diversify its operations. However, in doing so, it is diminishing Taiwan’s role as a supply chain chokepoint in the global economy. If the company is successful in relocating production, will the US be as willing to spend its political capital on protecting Taiwan from Chinese ambitions?”