It is estimated that about 80 percent of chips are produced in East Asia. Due to the global shortage of chips – caused, among other things, by greater demand for consumer electronics during lockdowns), companies and countries have become increasingly dependent on two state-of-the-art products, Samsung in South Korea and TSMC in Taiwan. The shortage of their products is thus hampering economic recovery in some parts of the world.
“South Korea and Taiwan are now the primary providers of chips, as were the OPEC cartel countries in the oil case. They do not cooperate like OPEC, but they have such power, “he said Bloombergu An Ki-hjun from the Korean Semiconductor Industry Association.
The governments of some countries have therefore made the availability of chips their priority, especially the hostile United States and China. Both countries have ambitions to encourage their own production.
At the end of February, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order, which responds to the lack of chips and aims to find a solution to the current situation in the coming months. He acknowledged that the United States had been neglecting investment in the industry for many years.
Many industry figures are now urging Biden to encourage domestic chip production through various incentives. The Semiconductor Industry Association emphasizes that the U.S. share of global chip manufacturing capacity has dropped from 37 percent in 1990 to the current 12 percent. “Semiconductors are essential to the American economy and to technological leadership as well as national security,” it said challenge.
But investment in the industry is high, for example Samsung’s new Korean plant should cost fifteen billion dollars. Another way is to convince Asian companies of further activities in the United States. After all, last year TSMC set out its intention to build its operation in Arizona by 2024.
According to the latest information, Samsung is considering four US locations for its new factory. Both companies now seem to be waiting to see what support they receive from the US government. At the same time, there have been reports these days that senators are considering giving the industry $ 30 billion.
China has been investing heavily in chip self-sufficiency for a long time, but so far it has not been able to produce the most modern types. The country accounts for about 60 percent of their global consumption, and plans to reach 70 percent self-sufficiency by 2025. According to some, however, US sanctions, which complicate Beijing’s access to technology, may make it impossible to achieve this goal.
In any case, it can be assumed that the rivalry between countries will gain momentum. “The new space race at the geopolitical level is focused on computing power. On who can collect the most data and process it the fastest, “she emphasized BBC former adviser to President George W. Bush Pippa Malmgren. “That’s why China, the United States and the EU spend a lot of money on incredibly fast supercomputers. And all these things need chips, “she added.