The EU's aiming to deliver 20% of the world's leading-edge chips by 2030
The EU wants to double Europe's leading-edge semiconductor output
Published: 2nd December 2021 | Source: CNBC |
Semiconductor Self Sufficiency is "not doable", claims the EVP of the European Commission
If the world's semiconductor shortage has highlighted anything, it's that the western world is too reliant on the east for leading-edge semiconductor production.
Currently, legislators in the US and EU are working to decrease their reliance on foreign semiconductor imports. This will be achieved by increasing their semiconductor fabrication capabilities. In the US, this will be achieved with the help of the CHIPS for America Act, and in the EU this could be achieved with subsidies for chipmakers within the bloc.
This week, the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager (in an interview with CNBC), stated that full semiconductor self-sufficiency is "not doable". The capital investment required to achieve that is too high. However, the bloc's strategic goal is to "have 20% of [the] value of leading edge to be produced in Europe by 2030".
Many of the reasons behind the push for Europe and North America to produce more high-end semiconductors are geopolitical. Frictions between global powers, particularly with China, have the potential to disrupt semiconductor supply chains. If western powers can create more semiconductors within their borders, they can better insulate themselves from those problems.
Currently, the world's leading-edge chips are reliant on chipmaking technologies from TSMC and Samsung, and the semiconductor industry as a whole is overly concentrated in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. By building more semiconductors in the EU and US, the world's semiconductor industry will become less concentrated, making east asian chip manufacturing less geopolitically important.
Regardless of how the EU acts, increasing Europe's chipmaking capabilities will be a long and expensive process. Leading edge chipmaking facilities are expensive and take a long time to build. There's a reason why the EU's targetting 2030 with its current initiatives. That means that we shouldn't expect to see major changes within the world's semiconductor landscape anytime soon.
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