On August 21, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb traveled to Taipei to begin an economic development trip in Taiwan and South Korea.Holcomb’s trip comes with a backdrop of potential investment in Indiana by companies based in the South Pacific and a political conflict between the US and China over Taiwan.
Citing the 10 Taiwanese and 12 South Korean businesses that call Indiana home, Holcomb led a delegation that met with government officials, business leaders, and academic institutions to strengthen the bond between the Hoosier state and those nations. In late June, MediaTek, a Taiwanese tech company, announced the creation of a semiconductor design facility at Purdue. One month later in July, Minnesota-based technology company SkyWater Technology made a $1.8 billion investment to build a semiconductor research and manufacturing plant at Purdue to go along with it. With this investment in semiconductor technology secured, Holcomb led a delegation with Indiana Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers and Purdue leaders to Taiwan and South Korea, primarily to continue discussions on more investments in tech in Indiana.
In his statement announcing the trip Holcomb pointed to the massive investments coming to Indiana from foreign-owned businesses. “Indiana is home to more than 1,050 foreign-owned business establishments, representing more than 40 countries and territories — including 10 from Taiwan and 12 from South Korea,” Holcolmb said in the statement. “In 2021, 47 foreign-owned businesses committed to locating or growing in Indiana. Together, these firms plan to invest $3.55 billion in Indiana, creating jobs with an average wage of $29.57 per hour and accounting for 14% of the total new jobs committed in 2021.” The Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors Act (CHIPS) provided help and support to create new jobs in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Indiana has moved quickly to ensure that these high-paying tech positions come to the Hoosier State.
Holcomb’s trip to Taiwan is the first by a senior U.S. politician since Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the beginning of August. On her trip, Pelosi toed the line on US-China policy regarding Taiwan by not claiming Taiwan as an independent entity. But her mere presence, given her high rank, pushed the People’s Republic of China to begin military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, baring its teeth to Taiwan Tand the US.Despite Pelosi’s trip reigniting US-China tensions, Holcomb’s visit garnered little international intrigue. But as Chinese threats toward Taiwan escalate, US states and companies have become increasingly concerned about protecting the vital semiconductor industry. With more than $2 billion of investment secured in semiconductor technology, Holcomb went to Taiwan and South Korea to secure Indiana’s status as a friend to the companies most affected by China’s threats to Taiwan.