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The $1 chip that keeps Taiwan’s tech devices in working order

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Feeling peckish? Find out why Taiwan is mad about the “Kuai Kuai” brand of corn snacks. 

Synopsis: Every first Friday of the month, The Straits Times chats with ST’s correspondents in the Asia-Pacific, the US and Europe, about life as it goes on, amid the screaming headlines and bubbling crises. 

Taiwan is the world’s top manufacturer of semiconductors and advanced chips. But here is the super-chip that rules them all: a corn chip snack that is a favourite among Taiwan kids. 

Bags of it can be found atop laptops, ATM machines, printers all over the island, even in the offices of engineers in Hsinchu Science Park – home of the island’s semiconductor industry. 

In this episode, ST’s foreign editor Li Xueying chats with ST’s Taiwan correspondent Yip Wai Yee about how these chips became the go-to lucky charms for Taiwan appliances, and the folk traditions and pseudoscience that continue to thrive in the technologically advanced society.

Highlights (click/tap above):

1:00: Why Kuai Kuai corn chips are so popular in Taiwan

2:05: How they “bestow their magical powers” on appliances

4:28: TSMC, the world’s leading semiconductor company, has its own edition of Kuai Kuai chips

5:47: The propensity for Taiwanese to turn to such folk beliefs

8:29 The wrong use of Kuai Kuai chips was believed to have crashed Taiwan’s tax filing system in May 2017

Read Wai Yee’s article here:

Produced by: Li Xueying (, Ernest Luis and Fa’izah Sani

Edited by: Fa’izah Sani

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