The Big Picture

Vincent Boland: Our global economy can’t function without this Taiwanese microchip plant — for now

TSMC’s microchips are vital, but with Taiwan under threat from China, there are moves by governments to become less reliant on the tech giant

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC): a Chinese attack on Taiwan would be a military and human catastrophe. It would also be the end of TSMC and of much of the world’s advanced economic and technological activity. Picture: Getty

There are some obvious candidates for the title of single most important place for the world’s security and prosperity. One is Silicon Valley, a stretch of California that is home to the global technology industry. Another is Wall Street and its mighty financial markets. Or the fertile plains of Ukraine, critical for world food supplies and now being destroyed by Russia.

Then there is Hsinchu, a coastal city of 450,000 people in Taiwan, west of ...