Why is Taiwan so good at making computer parts/hardware?

It really is quite something isn’t it?

Here is a country (yes its a country, sorry wumaos), with a population of less than 25M people (less than the population of Texas) and yet it contains some of the most well known semiconductor/computer hardware companies in the world:

Semiconductor companies

TSMC (the world’s most valuable semiconductor company) – makers of such products as AMD, Intel, Apple CPUs

Realtek – known for making pretty every computer audio chipset

VIA – a former also-ran in the CPU market that specialized in lower power applications

MediaTek – makers of the chips that run on a lot of different smartphones

Computers

Quanta Computers – makers of OEM branded laptops (a lot of the HP/Dell/Alienware/Apple laptops you see might have been made by Quanta)

Compal – just like Quanta, they make a lot of OEM branded laptops as above ^

Pegatron – Just like Quanta and Compal except they made OEM branded TVs and smartphones in addition to laptops

Acer – one of the largest PC makers in the world

Asus – one of the largest PC makers in the world

Gigabyte/Aorus – one of the largest gaming laptop makers in the world

MSI – one of the largest gaming laptop makers in the world

Computer parts and accessories

Cooler Master

Gamdias

Thermaltake

MSI

Gigabyte

Asus

Adata

Asrock

Biostar

BenQ

D-Link

QNAP

Lian li

Synology

G.Skill

Transcend

….

and of course the now fallen from grace HTC which was a pioneer in the smartphone industry and Foxconn an electronics services company that pretty much has contracts with every well known electronics company in the world like Apple, Dell etc

It’s actually quite amazing just how many computer parts come from Taiwan. Your laptop or PC has a good chance of having at least one part from a Taiwanese company.

And why is that? If I had to guess, Taiwan’s expertise in semiconductor and electronics manufacturing came from an early ability to recognize the growth of this industry in the 1980s, before American companies did, and before the rise of China. Taiwan then specialized and invested in infrastructure to create chips – it really is the true silicon valley of the world in the sense that most of the chips in your electronic devices were manufactured in Taiwan (or Shenzhen, the world’s other big silicon valley).

Taiwan’s specialization in chip making then really helped it when laptop PCs and gaming PCs really took off and manufacturers from US and Japan needed more and more specialized PC parts. Taiwan’s prowess and experience in producing these parts really gave it economy of scale and made it easier for them to keep an advantage in this area over Korea/Japan, although lately China especially Shenzhen has been rivaling Taiwan in this area as well.

Still though, as you can see a huge portion of computer and computer parts makers are still based in Taiwan, meaning that for the near future Taiwan will continue being the electronics manufacturing hub of the world.