Published in PC Hardware

China headhunting chip talent in Taiwan

by on04 September 2018

Offering huge incentives

The Chinese government is offering Taiwanese technology experts huge pay incentives to move across the water.

A growing band of senior Taiwan professionals are now working in China’s booming and fast-developing semiconductor industry and attracting such talent from Taiwan has become a key part of Chinese efforts.

Apparently that got a lot worse when Donald (Prince of Orange) Trump started his trade war against China. The Chinese realised that the US could strangle technological development by denying its chipmakers to sell to the Chinese. The Chinese answer was not to kau tau into the mighty Trump but to fast track their own chip industry by throwing a lot of cash at it.

More than 300 senior engineers from Taiwan have moved to Chinese chipmakers so far this year, joining nearly 1,000 others who have relocated since Beijing set up a $22 billion fund to develop the chip industry in 2014, according to estimates from H&L Management Consultants, a Taipei-based recruitment firm.

The battle for skilled engineers has raised concerns in Taiwan that the island could lose a key economic engine to its political foe, China. Analysts say China is still years behind Taiwan in terms of chip design and manufacturing, however, even as it moves ahead in terms of the production of lower-end chips.

Lin Yu-Hsuan, a manager at the recruitment firm H&L, said engineers from Taiwan were lured by high pay, perks and more senior positions at Chinese chipmakers like SMIC that are flush with cash from China’s multi-billion chip fund.

“Many of them said: ‘the money I will earn in China in three years is equivalent to what I could get in Taiwan in 10 years. I could retire earlier’,” Lin said.

Last modified on 04 September 2018
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