Taipei: China is waging economic warfare to acquire Taiwan's semiconductor industries, home to the world-leading semiconductor industry, second only after the US.

The Taiwanese government has accused China of waging economic warfare against Taiwan's tech sector by stealing technology and inveigling away skilled engineers, reported The HK Post.

Taiwanese Executive Minister Lo Ping Cheng charged that Beijing was enticing Taiwan's advanced-tech personnel and engaging in theft of national critical technologies, circumventing regulations, illegally investing and operating in Taiwan causing the nation a huge loss in IT security and industry competitiveness.

Semiconductors or 'chips' are the essential building blocks in technological innovation and economic development. These chips are ubiquitous in all electrical devices including smartphones, electronic vehicles, hypersonic armaments, airships, pacemakers etc.

Demand for semiconductors is always shooting up with emerging new technologies like quantum computing, wireless communications (5G), the internet of things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), all requiring highly advanced semiconductor devices.

The US has been a pioneer in the semiconductor industry for decades, housing 8 of the 15 world's biggest semiconductor enterprises.

China is a big-time importer of semiconductors and has been relying excessively on foreign manufacturers for its supply, especially the United States, reported The HK Post.

The continuing trade disputes between China and the US has made it difficult for Beijing to fulfil the needs of its domestic semiconductor industry. The US has also been tightening semiconductor export controls with stricter licensing policies, especially toward China.

China's weakness in the trade war is its dependence on semiconductors imports to boost the efficiency of its manufacturing sector.

The Chinese government has been trying to reduce its reliance on the US and to accelerate the development of its domestic semiconductor industry through its Guidelines to Promote National Integrated Circuit Industry Development and Made in China 2025 initiative.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC) produces the most advanced chips in the world catering to both Chinese and American firms such as Qualcomm, Apple, Broadcom and Xilinx.

Taiwan's skilled tech workforce and know-how in the chip industry has long been a target for China which is trying to push the development of its own semiconductor industry.

In the past few years, the government of Taiwan has reported many charges concerning the theft of chip trade secrets by Chinese organizations.

While China manufactures the majority of the world's computers and smartphones, it imports almost all the semiconductors needed to run these gadgets.

To remove its technological dependence, China regularly engages in industrial espionage and other activities in an effort to develop its own semiconductor industry. This was also one of the main reasons why China was trying hard to get Taiwan back under its hold.

Investigation Bureau of Taiwan under the administration of the Ministry of Justice rounded up 60 Chinese nationals on the allegation of stealing trade secrets and poaching tech employees from Taiwan, reported The HK Post.

The list of companies investigated includes Vimicro, GLC Semiconductor, Analogix Semiconductor, Beijing Yinxing Technology among others.