Taiwan is to relax restrictions on the technology level permitted at its chipmakers China-based factories, the <i>Financial Times</i> reported. The removal of restrictions, expected before the end of the year, should allow companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the world's largest chipmaker, to defend their market positions by serving Chinese customers directly. The blanket ban on semiconductor investments by Taiwan companies in China ended in 2002 but production was limited to chips of 0.25 microns and above, a technology level behind the mainstream 0.18 micron size now widely adopted by Chinese chipmakers. The restriction was imposed in accordance with multilateral agreements on export controls for dual-use technology. The Chinese are still years behind their Taiwan counterparts in semiconductor technology.