UK government opens inquiry about domestic semiconductor industry
The UK government has opened an inquiry into the state of the semiconductor industry in the UK and its ability to supply chips.
The inquiry comes after several quarters of chip supply chain bottlenecks and demand exceeding supply. During this time several industries have found their manufacturing capability curtailed by component shortages.
The UK’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said it will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the semiconductor industry and its supply chain in the UK.
The inquiry was opened last week at the same time that the UK government’s business Secretary, Kwasi Karteng, opted to investigate the sale of Newport Wafer Fab Ltd. to China-controlled Nexperia NV (Nijmegen, The Netherlands) nearly a year after the deal completed (see Newport Wafer Fab sale comes under investigation).
The committee wants to understand current and future demand for ICs in the UK, the strengths and weaknesses of the UK semiconductor industry and its supply chain, and the opportunities for collaboration with the US, the European Union and other allies.
The committee is open for submissions until June 14.
In particular it is looking for answers to the following eight questions:
What is the current and future anticipated demand for common products built with semiconductor materials (e.g. computer chips) both in the UK and globally?
What is the UK’s semiconductor supply chain and is this secure? If not, how can this be improved? What specific strengths does the UK have to contribute to regional or global semiconductor supply chains? How competitive is the UK within the global context of the semiconductor industry?
Are there opportunities for strengthening different parts of the current UK semiconductor industry? What are the potential weaknesses and strengths of the UK semiconductor industry to meet future requirements of electronic device manufacturing?
In which industries does the UK not have an end-to-end semiconductor supply chain? Are there any opportunities for these supply chain gaps to be filled within the UK?
How can the Government strengthen semiconductor research and innovation? Are there any current areas of weakness in the present Government strategy to semiconductor innovation? Is there effective communication between the various stakeholders within the UK’s semiconductor ecosystem?
Does the UK have the required skills, talent and diversity to be able to boost its current semiconductor industry and to respond to future disruption?
What are the potential national security concerns or vulnerabilities in our semiconductor industry? How should the UK collaborate with the United States and European Union? What are the ramifications on other industries and the wider economy within the UK.
Is the Government currently providing the clarity and direction required to enable growth and security in the semiconductor industry? Are the right governmental organisations involved with ensuring effective development of our current semiconductor industry to thrive in the future?
Related links and articles:
Nexperia’s Toni Versluijs takes questions on the Newport deal
Newport Wafer Fab seeks funds for capacity expansion
China’s Nexperia buys Newport Wafer Fab amid concerns
Newport Wafer Fab under threat of Chinese takeover
UK government helps NWF develop GaN foundry process
Opinion: Is the West still blind to China’s ‘buy-the-tech’ strategy?