A Taiwanese Apple supplier has warned that the global chip shortage will worsen without a massive increase in COVID-19 vaccinations on the island.

The comment was made as the world’s leading chip testing company was forced to suspend production following a COVID-19 outbreak …

Taiwan was initially hardly touched by the pandemic, thanks to tight travel restrictions and a world-beating contact-tracing system. However, infections are now rising exponentially in the country.

Nikkei Asia reports.

A leading Taiwanese semiconductor supplier will suspend all domestic production for two days after reporting a COVID infection cluster, risking the continuity of the island’s crown-jewel chip supply chain at a time of a global shortage.

King Yuan Electronics, the world’s leading chip testing service provider, said it will suspend production at sites in Miaoli and Hsinchu — the hub of the island’s chip industry — that account for around 80% of its revenue […] KYEC’s production suspension could aggravate the global chip shortage, which has already hit a swath of players from automobile makers to consumer electronics giants.

So far, only around 2.5% of the population has received a first COVID-19 vaccination shot, and that percentage needs to rise dramatically, says one Apple supplier.

“If the majority of the population in Taiwan do not receive COVID vaccines soon, I fear it is only a matter of time until more and more companies will be forced to halt production due to the spread of the virus,” an Apple supplier executive told Nikkei Asia.

Apple was recently reported to be helping TSMC vaccinate its workforce.

Apple is helping A-series and M1 chipmaker TSMC get COVID-19 vaccines for its employees after an appeal for help from the Taiwanese government, according to a new report […] helping to obtain Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for TSMC and employees’ families […]

TSMC is a vital supplier for Apple, and any reduction in its output could have dramatic consequences for the supply of almost every Apple product, from Apple Watch to Mac.

Photo: Braňo/Unsplash

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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