$145bn to boost Europe's semiconductor industry

December 10, 2020 // By Peter Clarke
Europe moves to build up chip sector using pandemic recovery funds
European nations have signed a commitment to invest up to $145bn in local design and production of processors and semiconductors.

Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and twelve other countries have signed up to bolster Europe’s electronics and embedded systems value chain. The joint declaration called for Europe to come up with its own leading-edge processor chips with a "significant improvement in energy performance and speed," by 2025.

This will include a particular effort to reinforce the processor and semiconductor ecosystem to address security issues. The United Kingdom is the notable exception from the list but it has already left the European Union and is on the brink of leaving its transitionary period at the end of 2020.

The joint-declaration comes after the European Union and individual nations have already been making some moves in this area. With the signing of the joint declaration the movement appears to be gaining momentum.

The impetus for the movement is security of supply after the a year in which problems of supply chain fragiity have been seen after decades of globalization.

Europe bought less than 10 percent of the world's semiconductor output in 2019 – $39.82 billion out of global sales of $412.31 billion. However, in terms of manufacturing of chips Europe runs a massive deficit, especially at the leading-edge

As long ago as 2014 Europe's presence in 300mm wafer chip manufacturing was 2 percent by ownership and less than 1 percent by location.  At the same time South Korea and Taiwan – with the likes of Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. – hosted 50 percent of the 300mm wafer capacity in aggregate. The situation will have deteriorated over the following years and the vulnerability of global supply chains has been highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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