Apr 3, 2024 - Economy

Taiwan earthquake threatens world's biggest chip hub

A building leans precariously with rubble underneath.

Photo: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

The biggest earthquake to strike Taiwan in 25 years killed at least nine people and injured or trapped hundreds this morning, local time.

Zoom in: The island is the world's most important semiconductor-manufacturing hub, with an estimated 80% to 90% of the highest-end chips coming from Taiwan, per Bloomberg.

State of play: The epicenter of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake was on the eastern side of Taiwan, in Hualien County, about 90 miles south of the capital Taipei, where Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing's main facilities are located nearby.

  • TSMC evacuated some workers and suspended some operations temporarily.
  • A small local rival United Microelectronics Corp took similar actions.

What they're saying: "There is no damage to our critical tools including all of our extreme ultraviolet lithography tools," TSMC said in a statement, per Bloomberg.

The big picture: TSMC makes chips for Big Tech names including Apple and Nvidia.

  • "A single vibration can destroy entire batches of the precision-made semiconductors," according to Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This article was updated with an approximate distance between the earthquake's epicenter and the city of Taipei.

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