Technology

AI Boom in the US Drives 422% Spike in Taiwanese Tech Exports

Visitors watch a wafer shown on screens at the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) Renovation Museum at the Hsinchu Science Park in Hsinchu on July 5, 2023. (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP) (Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images) (Sam Yeh/Photographer: Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty )

(Bloomberg) --

The boom in AI is driving a surge in Taiwanese exports, with the island’s companies shipping more than $42 billion worth of graphic processing units and related equipment over the past year, up from almost nothing in recent years.

Those exports were worth $3.5 billion last month, up almost 422% from the same period a year ago, according to data released Wednesday by the customs administration. The US was the biggest customer for the chips, made by the likes of Nvidia Corp. and critical to powering graphics and training AI services. Companies in the Netherlands and Hong Kong were also big customers.

Total exports in June rose 23.5% to almost $40 billion, the Finance Ministry announced Tuesday. Overall shipments of computers and related hardware jumped 324% to $6.6 billion on robust demand from emerging technology sectors.

The ministry’s chief statistician Beatrice Tsai said after the release that Taiwan was “entering peak season for exports from July” and most exports this month would either be flat or better than in June. 

Taiwan is home to the world’s most-advanced chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the main supplier to Nvidia and Apple Inc. TSMC and its peers, supported by a vast ecosystem of component suppliers, produce the majority of the world’s higher-end semiconductors.

“Taiwan continues to ride the coattails of the artificial intelligence boom and cyclical tech cycle rebound, which will likely support exports in the coming months,” said Gary Ng, a senior economist from Natixis SA. 

Exports of integrated circuits resumed growth after losing momentum for the past few months. Total shipments in June to the US were up more than 74%, and those to ASEAN also continued to grow significantly, offsetting the impact of decelerating economic growth in China, according to Ng.

The spike in GPU shipments is one of the factors driving trade with the US to record highs. More than $9 billion worth of goods were shipped from Taiwan to the US last month, the third-highest month ever and only just behind the record in March.

--With assistance from Cindy Wang and Chien-Hua Wan.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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