According to a Nikkei Asian Review report, since last year, two Chinese companies have hired over 100 top engineers from TSMC to boost China’s chip manufacturing chances. According to the report, these companies have the backing of the Chinese government. The report claims that Quanxin Integrated Circuit Manufacturing (QXIC) and Hongxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (HSMC) now have the services of over 50 former TSMC employees each. In addition, the leader of both companies are also former executives of TSMC.
This recruitment aims to develop 14nm and 12nm chip manufacturing processes. This process is still far behind the likes of TSMC and Samsung. As tensions between the U.S. and China increases, there is an increasing need for both countries to be independent. As part of China’s push to be less dependent on American suppliers, it established QXIC in 2019. HSMC is not that old, it is only three years old.
According to Nikkei, Chinese chip companies target TSMC more than any other company. The Taiwanese manufacturer is the world’s largest chipmaker. It has the likes of Samsung, Apple, Qualcomm, Google in its supply chain. According to reports, the offer to some of these executives are up to 2.5 times their TSMC’s annual salary. Furthermore, the deal to lure them out of TSMC also includes bonuses.
For TSMC, it is not a huge loss to lose these executives and engineers. However, its major concern is the transfer of intellectual property to Chinese competitors. TSMC now has a new pledge which says that employees will not sell its work to competitors.
Presently, QXIC has an R&D center close to TSMC’s 5nm plant in Tainan. As of now, the company (QXIC) has over 370 chip industry experts. HSMC has its headquarters in Wuhan. Though there are claims that it hs government funding, it has some financial issues. The company does not have enough money from investors.
China is embarking on a very difficult task, which is to build a chip industry from scratch. It will not use any American technology or any tech that is associated with the U.S. It needs top engineers and young talents to be able to achieve this. TSMC is perturbed by the movement of its employees. The company said
“Employees are TSMC’s most important assets. We are committed to offering employees a challenging and positive work environment, and long-term career development…Our annual turnover rate is less than 5 percent in recent years. We will continue to work to retain and cultivate our internal talent pool.”