By Sarah Wu

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Globalisation is taking a backseat to priorities such as national security and technological leadership, with U.S.-China relations consisting more of competition than cooperation, the retired founder of Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC said on Tuesday.

Morris Chang, who founded the world’s largest contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), said globalisation has been redefined as allowing businesses to move across borders only under the condition that such exchanges do not harm national security, technological supremacy and economic leadership.

“But can this still be considered globalisation?” Chang said at a business forum in Taipei.

Chang’s comments come a day after China said it would control exports of some metals widely used in the semiconductor, communications and defence industries, the latest salvo in a trade war between Beijing and the United States over access to high-tech microchips.

Chang, who at 91 remains an influential voice in the chip industry, said globalisation peaked in the 2010s and has weakened over the past several years as the U.S. and China adopt measures to boost their domestic chip industries.

He has previously declared that globalisation in the chip sector dead.

TSMC, Asia’s most valuable listed company, is referred to in Taiwan as the “sacred mountain protecting the country” because of its economic importance.

While TSMC has said its most advanced manufacturing will remain on the island, the company has ramped up expansion abroad in recent years.

The company’s dominance in making some of the most advanced chips for high-end customers such as Apple has shielded it from a broader industry downturn.

China has in recent years increased diplomatic and military pressure against Taiwan, raising concerns about the fate of the factories that dot its western coast and produce the majority of the world’s most advanced chips.

Beijing views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, a claim the government in Taipei strongly rejects.

(Reporting by Sarah Wu; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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