Samsung, TSMC pressured by US government to submit sensitive internal data to tackle chip shortage issue
The US government is taking a pretty drastic step in their attempt to manage the current chip shortage that’s affecting various industries around the world. They are now moving to pressure global chipmakers like Samsung and TSMC to share sensitive internal information to improve the transparency of the crisis and identify the bottlenecks.
The US government wants to know information regarding their chip inventory, orders and sales data. Foundries are given 45 days to respond to the voluntary request. Samsung and TSMC usually does not disclose such data, as it will reveal their client lists, among other things. Usually it is up to the client to disclose which foundry they are working with for a certain product.
According to industry insiders, revealing all that data to the US government might put the companies in an unfavorable position when negotiating prices with buyers. Information such as yields and overall chip inventory may impact the prices that foundries like Samsung and TSMC can negotiate for, as higher yields and chip inventory may mean that buyers will push for lower prices on their products.
There are also concerns that the information provided to the US government may be shared with Intel, as Intel is aggressively entering the foundry business with their Intel Foundry Services offering. It is a known fact that the US government is keen on bringing more control over the global chip supply chain back on US soil. I am pretty sure that TSMC and Samsung aren’t going to be happy with their internal data being shared with a competitor.
With that said, they might be forced to provide the data after all. The US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo has mentioned that they “have other tools in our tool box that require them to give us data. I hope we don’t get there. But if we have to we will,” indicating that the US government may use legal means to squeeze the data out of them if TSMC and Samsung decides to not comply with the request. Oh well.
Pokdepinion: On the bright side, we might finally see a clearer picture as to why are we suffering from a global chip shortage.