Intel Chief Too Old For Meaningful Change Says TSMC Founder

Ramish Zafar
TSMC's founder Dr. Morris Chang.

This is not investment advice. The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. has a disclosure and ethics policy.

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC) founder Mr. Morris Chang has shared his opinions on the recent comments made by Intel Corporation's chied Mr. Patrick Gelsinger, when the latter outlined that Taiwan's geopolitical environment is not suitable for the highly crucial semiconductor fabrication industry. TSMC, which is the world's largest contract chip manufacturer, is headquartered in Taiwan and it uses the island to manufacture products on some of its latest fabrication technologies.

Intel CEO Should Focus On TSMC's Weak Spots Says TSMC Founder

Mr. Chang made his comments earlier this week when he responded to reporters' questions about Gelsinger's remarks. The Intel CEO had stated at the Fortune Business Brainstorm Technology conference and at the Credit Suisse technology conference that the geopolitical situation in Taiwan made the region risky for chip fabrication

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During both events, he referred to the recent airspace incursion in the region's air defense buffer zone by Chinese fighter aircraft to convey his unease for the situation.

At the Credit Suisse event, Mr. Gelsinger stated that:

As I was flying down here yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that there were 27 Chinese planes in Taiwan airspace yesterday.

How do you feel about having your sole source foundry capability in Taiwan right now? I mean, this is a geopolitical risk. And as we've argued since the beginning of my 10-year, the world needs a more resilient, geopolitically balanced supply chain. So we're seeing a lot of enthusiasm to support us moving into that market.

In response, TSMC's chairman Dr. Mark Liu had commented last week that the Intel head's opinions were not shared by the majority and that his company does not criticize its industry peers.

TSMC's founder Mr. Morris Chang (Zhang Zhongmou) during his keynote in April this year. Image: Lin Xunyi/United Daily News

Dr. Liu is now joined by Mr. Chang, who did not hold back when commenting on Mr. Gelsinger's comments. The TSMC founder believes that the Intel chief needs to focus on TSMC's weakest areas if it's competing with the Taiwanese firm and his comments are coming from an emotional position which does not explain how Intel plans to technologically outpace TSMC in the upcoming years.

Mr. Chang also revealed that he met with Intel's chief in 2015, when Mr. Gelsinger was at the helm of affairs at the cloud computing services provider VMWare. He described being very impressed by the executive's ability to describe the company's history in just 15 minutes of an hour long conversation, the remainder of which focused on Gelsinger's nostalgia for Intel's past. However, Mr. Chang was taken aback by what he considered to be the now Intel chief's rudeness towards TSMC.

He believes that the comments against TSMC are aimed at securing more government subsidies for Intel's resurgence. On this front, he also outlined that due to Intel's rules that a CEO must retire at 65 years of age, Mr. Gelsinger is too old for the position and will therefore be unable to turn the company's fortunes around.

Intel's product technology roadmap, unveiled in April this year, three months after Mr. Gelsinger took over, extends to the second half of 2025. Gelsinger is 60 years old and will turn 61 in March next year.

TSMC is currently in the early stage of production for its 3-nanometer semiconductor process, which, according to some, is theoretically equivalent in performance to what Intel's new roadmap refers to as the Intel 4. This process will be ready for production in the second half of next year, and chips built through it will be delivered in 2023. TSMC also expects to commence 3nm mass production in H2 2022.

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