The southeast coast of Taiwan was slammed by an earthquake on September 18 with a magnitude of 6.8, but Taiwan-based semiconductor manufacturers or TSMC reported no significant damage. Because of its geography, Taiwan is particularly susceptible to earthquakes. This most recent one serves as a reminder of how fragile a sizable portion of the global chip supply is.
The semiconductor chips produced by TSMC are used to power various devices, including mobile phones, laptops, automobiles, medical equipment, telecom towers, and more. Since the previous few quarters, automakers have struggled to boost production due to a limited supply of such chips, so any disruption in the semiconductor supply chain would impact their production plans.
The quake was one of many that occurred that day; the first one, on September 17, did not cause much harm, but the mainshock caused numerous building collapses, power outages, over 100 injuries, and one fatality.
The manufacture of the chips may see some disruption at the Tier-2 level of the supply chain due to the earthquake. However, according to a senior sales and marketing official from one of India’s largest automakers, no anticipation of any significant supply disruption has been made.
Significant businesses like TSMC and Micron reported no harm, according to Digitimes Asia. The western part of the island is home to most of the necessary facilities. Hence the shocks there were significantly weaker in strength. However, according to the China Science and Technology Administration and UMC CFO Chi-tung Liu, specific equipment experienced an automatic shutdown.
The most recent earthquake serves as a reminder that the world’s chip supply is still highly susceptible to disruption. Building quality has increased recently, and semiconductor production facilities are undoubtedly some of the most durable. To safeguard the foundation of the Taiwanese economy, modern buildings are constructed to withstand earthquakes of up to a magnitude of 7.0.
There has been a long history of earthquakes in Taiwan, notably the 1999 Jiji earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.3 and killed over 2,400 people. Global RAM chip supply was constrained, as a result, tripling market prices over the weeks and months.
The more significant global IT industry is moving to detach itself from an overreliance on Taiwanese manufacturing, whether it’s due to natural disasters, tensions with China, or simply economic over-centralization. Countries and businesses alike are aware of the risk of putting too many eggs in one basket, as demonstrated by the USA’s Chips Act or firms like Intel striving to diversify their manufacturing.
Earthquake in Taiwan: Strong Jolt Causes Tsunami Warning.
In the sparsely populated southeast of Taiwan, the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on Sunday caused at least three buildings to collapse and damage roads, bridges, and train carriages. The center of the quake, which had Taitung county as its location, was reported by the island’s meteorology bureau to have occurred after a 6.4-magnitude tremor on Saturday night.
According to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, China’s Central Weather Bureau (CWB) categorized 70 earthquakes previously recorded as aftershocks as foreshocks, including the magnitude 6.4 quake on Saturday and the 6.8 earthquakes that rocked Taitung as a “primary shock.” People in Taiwan were cautioned to be looking for additional aftershocks by President Tsai Ing-wen.
According to China’s Central Weather Bureau (CWB), the magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck Taiwan on Saturday is now referred to as foreshocks. Chen Kuo-chang said, “There have been cases when a huge earthquake was later re-designated as a foreshock following another stronger temblor.” He added that the Central Mountain Range fault system might have been the cause of the recent spate of earthquakes.
Taiwan is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a seismically active region that separates the Eurasian plate from the Philippine Sea. Plate tectonic activity is very vigorous in the Pacific Ocean’s horseshoe-shaped belt region. Most earthquakes recorded in Taiwan are caused by the convergence of the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate to the east of the island, despite geologists having located several active faults on the island.
Following identifying three other active faults in Kaohsiung City, Tainan City, and Nantou County, China’s Central Geological Survey (CGS) revised the number of active spots in Taiwan to 36 in June.