Hostilities between the US and China over Taiwan could choke off the global supply of electronics like mobile phones, the European chief of chipmaker Intel has warned.
Tensions between the two nations have been rising after a visit by the US house speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, sparking fears that Beijing could stop exports from the chipmaking powerhouse.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Intel’s European chief Frans Scheper said shutting off Taiwan’s exports would have a “huge impact” and could cause a “major crisis”.
“If you think about mobile phones, 80-90pc of chips are coming from Asia, from that specific area,” Scheper told the newspaper.
“For certain applications it would have a huge impact. Maybe for others a little bit less, but there are not always alternative sources available.”
Scheper said that the firm was now ramping up its investment in manufacturing facilities in a bid to stave off potential disruption.
“We are making major investments in Europe and in North America to get more balance,” Scheper said.
However, he warned that the investment would do little to mitigate short term disruption.
“If there is a short term crisis, there’s not much you can do in that sense, so that would have a major impact,” he said.
It comes as the chipmaker reportedly nears a deal initially worth $5bnto build an advanced semiconductor packaging and assembly plant in Italy, two sources briefed on discussions told Reuters on Thursday.