Remarks by AIT Director Brent Christensen at Micron Backend Grand Opening

October 26, 2018
AIT Official Text #: OT-1836


(As Prepared for Delivery)

Vice Premier Shih, Deputy Minister Kung, Deputy Minister Hsu, Mayor Lin, Micron Executive Vice President Bhatia, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, zao an!

I am very pleased to be here today to both mark Micron’s 40th anniversary and to celebrate the grand opening of their backend facility here in Taichung.  As we all know, Micron is Taiwan’s largest foreign investor, creating more than 5,300 jobs, and they have been operating in Taiwan for 21 years. They have made Taiwan the global hub of their DRAM operations and sent a powerful signal to international investors that they sees the future in Taiwan.  It would be difficult to find any foreign company over the last few years that has invested more in Taiwan’s future and the U.S.-Taiwan technology relationship than Micron.

In July, Secretary Pompeo outlined clearly that the United States Indo-Pacific economic strategy is centered on the three pillars of energy, infrastructure, and the digital economy.  The semiconductor industry is the very foundation of the emerging digital economy.  Virtually every emerging technology depends upon semiconductors in general, and upon memory chips in particular.  Many experts have said artificial intelligence will be more disruptive than even the industrial revolution, and the entire AI-era depends upon storing and accessing massive amounts of data – using chips designed and produced by Micron here in Taiwan.

For decades, Taiwan has been a trusted manufacturer of semiconductors.  Industries, governments, and even militaries the world over know Taiwan plays by the rules.  And that is why the United States considers Taiwan one of our closest and most indispensable partners when it comes to semiconductors.  That is why our semiconductor industry chooses to partner with Taiwan and invest in Taiwan.

The World Economic Forum recently recognized Taiwan as a “super innovator,” an honor shared only by the United States, Germany, and Switzerland.  Overall, Taiwan was ranked the world’s 13th most competitive economy, and 4th in Asia.  We are happy to stand together with Taiwan to develop the cutting edge innovations of the future.

Innovation is critical as a driver of productivity growth and value creation.  It is indeed the core of economic growth and the engine of sustainable prosperity.  Fostering innovation requires holistic strategies; where Taiwan should be proud to share its best practices with regional economies.

This does not mean Taiwan does not also have room for improvement.  Guaranteeing a stable and adequate supply of power and water is foundational.  Strengthening the enforcement of trade secret laws will send a powerful signal that there is a price to corporate theft.  Ensuring robust cybersecurity for the technology industry is now a fundamental issue of national security.  Investing in young people so they can see that their future is tied to U.S. and Taiwan technology supply chains is key to bringing the U.S.-Taiwan economic relationship into the digital age.

At AIT, we are doing everything we can to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan technology relationship and to deepen our cooperation on all of Taiwan’s innovative industries, including semiconductors.  In today’s age, this is not just smart economics, it is smart geopolitics.

Thank you.