Opinion: Time for Europe to wake from a 30-year slumber

February 17, 2021 //By Peter Clarke
Opinion: Time for Europe to wake from a 30-year slumber
Over three decades the European Union has let multiple electronics systems industries wither and Europe is now dependent on offshore chipmakers who do not always deliver.

Wafer fabs are significant engines of employment and technical development and the world's most technically advanced manufacturer of integrated circuits is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC).

Wafer fabs also produce the necessary hardware components for wealth creation and therefore for well-being; they are the strategic enablers of electronic systems as Volkswagen and others have recently been reminded.

TSMC doesn’t only make ICs in Taiwan. It also makes – or will make/assemble – chips in other countries.

In the US, yes.
In China, yes.
In Japan, sort of, yes.
In Europe?

TSMC has said it before and has now said it again. The company has no plans to start manufacturing chips in Europe (see TSMC has no "concrete" plans to make chips in Europe).

So, what is so different about the US, China and Japan?

Would that be the presence of globally significant makers of electronic products that value the leading-edge; a strong semiconductor ecosystem; and political clout that gets exercised from time to time?

Perhaps, the US, China and Japan have to an extent shaped – rather than merely endured – the tide of globalization so that they still have a strategic role to play? Taiwan and South Korea have certainly shaped their own technological destinies.

Next: Fortress Europe


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