TSMC: How a Taiwanese Chipmaker Silently Built Its Tech Empire

Country/area: Taiwan

Organisation: The Initium Media

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 15/09/2021

Credit: Wen-Yee Lee, Yi-An Lee, Hsin-Chieh Ho, Ting-Wei Lin, Athena Kuo, Alice Tse, Elk Leung


Wen-Yee Lee, journalist covering Taiwan semiconductor industry.

Yi-an Lee, Taipei-based writer and journalist focusing on geo-politics and international trade.

Hsin-Chieh Ho, Taiwan-based writer and award-winning journalist who focuses on Taiwan–China relations and agriculture.

Ting-Wei Lin, freelance journalist based in Taipei.

Athena Kuo, staff visual designer for Initium Media.

Alice Tse, freelance illustrator based in Hong Kong.

Elk Leung, front-end developer for Initium Media.


Project description:

An interactive explainer using maps to trace the expansion of Taiwan’s TSMC, the world’s most important manufacturer of cutting-edge chips, and how it has been embroiled in the global semiconductor shortage and the ongoing tensions between China and the US.

Impact reached:

The history of TSMC’s expansion is rarely depicted by media, yet the company has been more and more imporatant amid the ongoing geo-political tensions, especially with the supply chain disruption in the age of pandemic. The number of readers reached is 14,132 (data retreived on Jan 5th, 2022). 

Techniques/technologies used:

Main framework with Vue, map system with mapbox.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The hardest part was matching TSMC’s geographical and historical data altogether. The semiconductor industry itself is a difficult and complicated one to understand, and even more so when you want to give a concise and precise introduction for the layman readers with little knowledge of the industry.  

What can others learn from this project?

The combination of Geograpgic Information System and journalism offers an example for other journalists to explore alternative methods when telling geopolitical stories.

Project links: