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LONDON — The UK semiconductor industry is screaming for financial support from the government, and insiders warn that the UK risks losing its microchip firms to the US and other countries if it doesn’t act soon. ing.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government has yet to release a strategy outlining the UK’s efforts to support the chip industry. And domestic semiconductor bosses are growing frustrated.
Cambridge-based startup Pragmatic Semiconductor, which makes non-silicon chips, has warned it could be forced to move abroad if the government doesn’t announce plans for the industry soon.
Scott White, CEO of Pragmatic Semiconductor, said: , he told CNBC.
The UK is a modest player in the global chip market, specializing in compound semiconductor design, intellectual property, research and manufacturing.
Also here is one of the most coveted semiconductor assets in the form of chip designer Arm. Based in Cambridge, UK, Arm-licensed chips are used in approximately 95% of the world’s smartphones.
Semiconductors, and the mostly East Asian-based supply chains behind them, have become a thorny problem for world governments after global shortages led to supply problems for major automakers and electronics makers. .
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed an over-reliance on manufacturers in Taiwan and China for semiconductor components. That dependency is fraught with rising tensions between China and Taiwan.
TSMCis a Taiwanese semiconductor giant and the largest producer of microchips. Its chip-manufacturing capabilities are the envy of many developed Western nations, which are taking steps to boost domestic production of chips.
IQEA microchip company in a semiconductor “cluster” in Newport, Wales, has also warned it could be forced to move to the US or EU if the government does not take action within the next six months.
“We want to stay in the UK and we are committed to growing in the UK…but we have to do what our shareholders want and go where the money is.” IQE CEO Americo Lemos told The Times:
A government spokesperson told CNBC: “We are committed to supporting the UK’s critically important semiconductor industry. Our strategy is to grow this sector further and ensure a resilient supply chain. It is scheduled to be done.”
In the United States, President Joe Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act, a $280 billion package that includes $52 billion in funding to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
On the other hand, the EU Booked 43 billion euros Invest ($45.9 billion) in the European semiconductor industry, aiming to produce 20% of the world’s semiconductors by 2030.
China, too, has been forced to rethink its chip strategy after facing tough trade sanctions from the United States. The country was said to be preparing more than 1 trillion yuan ($147 billion) in packages for the chip industry last December, according to Reuters.
A UK tech industry executive says the lack of a similar strategy from the government is hurting the country’s competitiveness.
The UK likely doesn’t have the financial power to match these audacious spending packages, they say. We want to commit to an easier immigration process for skilled workers.
Simon Thomas, CEO of Paragraf, a UK company that develops and manufactures graphene-based electronics, told CNBC:
On February 3, lawmakers on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Commission called the lack of a coherent microchip strategy “national self-harm” and called for government action against the semiconductor industry.
Government BEIS agency on Tuesday It was dissolved and replaced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s restructuring.
The business and industrial strategy portfolio now falls under the authority of Kemi Badenoch, Minister of the newly created Department of Business and Trade, while the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology is headed by Michel Donnellan.
Last year, Sunak became Britain’s third prime minister after inheriting a dark economic background from her predecessor, Liz Truss.
He is under pressure from chip industry bosses to quickly formulate an industry strategy.
Russ Shaw, founder of London Tech Advocates, said the government needed to be “strengthened”. London is “tremendously distracted by chaos”.
The UK semiconductor strategy was expected to be announced last year. However, it has faced a series of delays due to political instability.government previously proposed the establishment of a national institutionto boost the semiconductor industry, among other initiatives.
“The rumors I heard [it may arrive] Chris Ballance, co-founder of UK quantum computing startup Oxford Ionics, told CNBC. But he added that the process “has been going on for the past four or five months.”