I had posted the link from Financial Times yesterday; here’s another one from WSJ.
Semiconductors go into just about every electronic device and are critical to a range of major industries from smartphones and cars to military equipment and healthcare devices. The recent chip shortage that rattled supply chains underscored how swaths of the world economy can be shut down—and related jobs lost—in the absence of these tiny tech components.
Here’s another worry:
With the federal incentives now available, a key question will be to what extent the U.S. is able to land major chip-factory investments that would have gone elsewhere. The chip industry is notoriously conservative on capital-expenditure spending, given that the most advanced facilities require tens of billions of dollars—and a single machine costs more than $150 million.
Interdisciplinary (and multi-national efforts) to the rescue:
The U.S. is expected to coordinate with other major chip-making countries that are allies to avoid a subsidy competition that could lead to production overruns or overlapping government investments, said Will Hunt, a research analyst specializing in semiconductor policies at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
I have my doubts that the US will like to shift part of the subsidy burden to its allies for an industry that requires a technological edge to survive. Wishful thinking.
Meanwhile in other geographies:
South Korea, as part of new chip-industry support plans announced in July, will offset the cost of utilities, including electricity and water, at certain production sites, while widening tax benefits for large companies’ semiconductor facility investments. A big portion of Japan’s new chip-spending plan has already helped offset costs for a multibillion-dollar TSMC factory announced last year.
These are indeed interesting times!