Plans for China's invasion of Taiwan could be thwarted by a leading European chipmaker's "kill switch," which can remotely deactivate sophisticated...

fjtorres5591

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China's intent to take over Formosa has nothing to do with economics or tech. Even if TSMC were vaporized tomorrow, the CCP would not change their plans one bit.

The motivation is rooted in internal politics and nationalism rather than any rational need; when the CCP took over the mainland territories, the existing government evacuated to the island of Formosa and for decades pretended to be the legitimate government of China. In the logic of the CCP, their regime will not be fully legitimized until they incorporate the island, as they did Hong Kong and Macao. Under that outlook, the worse the Chinese economy and demographics get, the greater the need to invade to demonstrate the CCP retains "the mandate of heaven".

The outside world may fret over TSMC all they want but its presence or absence will not factor into the uncrowned emperor's decision to go or hold back. That will happen or not based on his internal calculus, not the outside world's.

And the outside will intervene or not based on their own calculus at *the time*.

Rather than deter China, a Kill switch on the TSMC fabs will actually offer the west an excuse *not* to intervene.
 

Chassit

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This is not good news at all. Where is TSMC based eh? Once China sees this "kill switch" for real, they'd blitz Taiwan before anyone could activate it. And they won't hesitate to blast TSMC to smithereens. If that setback the whole world, China and everywhere else, equally by 10 years, it's not really a loss. In that case it's a move that effectively levels the playground.
 

TheFerrango

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Unless their secret kill switch comes in the form of an inside man sabotaging the production lines, this is basically them admitting they have embedded backdoors into the production machines (I’m assuming since they themselves manufactured them?).
This should be seen as anything but good news
 

hax0red

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Short of a bomb, nothing software wise would stop them, only delay. I know ASML/TSMC thinks it's their code that powers the machine, but once you see how it's put together the code can be broken down and rewritten. Doubting China at this point is a bad idea. EDIT: ASML more so then TSMC who is probably going on what ASML believes.
 

fjtorres5591

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Short of a bomb, nothing software wise would stop them, only delay. I know ASML/TSMC thinks it's their code that powers the machine, but once you see how it's put together the code can be broken down and rewritten. Doubting China at this point is a bad idea. EDIT: ASML more so then TSMC who is probably going on what ASML believes.
Actually, EUV lithography is extremely finicky and a "miraculous" technology in that it is a miracle it works at all. It relies on human expertise, SOA software and inputs (wafers, lenses, and tin droplet generators among other tech) that are decades beyond anything China can natively bring to the table. Don't forget China depends on the outside world more than the outside world depends on China.

So yes, technically anything software might do would only delay bringing the Fabs back online...

...but the delay would be a decade or two and, even if China survives its demographic crisis, by the time they get EUV working again it would be less useful than the 90nm+ chips that are the limit of China's native semiconductor tech without foreign supplies, personnel, and designs.

But as I said, TSMC is not the driving force for the invasion.
Neither is economics, demographics, or even geography.

In real world terms, Formosa is as critical to China's economy as Gibraltar to Spain or the Falklands to Argentina/UK in the 80's. (This last has changed a bit as the Falklands now have offshore oil but, more importantly, Argentina has *shale* which makes offshore oil barely relevant.)

Nations rarely go to war over rational matters.
 

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