In order to ensure "technological autonomy", the European Union countries led by Germany and France plan to invest 500 billion euros (about 4700 billion Hong Kong dollars) in the European chip industry in the next few years, funded by participating companies and EU subsidies.With the introduction of new technologies to increase the demand for chips, and the Sino-U.S. struggle has turned into a technological war and the impact of the new crown epidemic, the supply chain of the chip industry has been severely disrupted, and the world's chip supply is out of stock.The EU is also aware of the importance of "must have a firm grasp of key technologies."
The Sino-US technology war and the new crown epidemic have greatly disrupted the high-end chip technology chain and supply chain, and the impact is far more than just Chinese and American companies.Although Europe has advanced lithography technology, wafers are still mainly imported, especially the European automobile manufacturing industry needs a large number of wafers.There are reports that many European auto factories have stopped work due to lack of chips. Obviously, they have become more and more aware of the serious shortage of chips. Volkswagen has also expressed hope that the EU will strengthen chip manufacturing.At the end of last month, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier wrote to Taiwan urging it to help increase the supply of chips to the German automotive industry.The German government, which has always been careful in handling relations with China, understands that this might make the Chinese government dissatisfied, but still decided to do so, showing the severity of the chip shortage.
TSMC is Taiwan’s leading semiconductor manufacturer.
Government subsidies up to XNUMX%
At the end of 2018, the European Union has passed the first "Important Plan for Common European Interests" (IPCEI) plan to focus on upgrading the semiconductor industry. It seems to understand that the high-end technology of chips must be mastered on its own and cannot rely too much on the global supply chain.There have always been companies suggesting that through the IPCEI plan to provide financial subsidies for European companies to stimulate the European chip manufacturing industry.Atmel proposed to inject capital into the chip industry through IPCEI last Wednesday (February 2), of which 3% to XNUMX% of the funds are responsible for enterprises, and XNUMX% to XNUMX% of the funds are subsidized by the governments of EU member states. Obviously, they understand the need to improve policies to change the industrial ecology. Necessary.
The small side is that Taiwan's supply is uncertain.In the context of the Sino-US technology war, the Chinese mainland has imported a large number of chips from Taiwan, which now accounts for XNUMX% of the total exports. In addition, there are also many orders from Japan, Southeast Asia and other countries in the region. There are also questions about the large supply.The political complexity of Taiwan also makes Taiwan less reliable.Asking Taiwan to increase supply in the short term can only be an expedient short-term strategy.From a broad perspective, events such as the Sino-U.S. struggle and the new crown epidemic have caused obvious gaps in the global technology chain and supply chain.Europe also understands that globalization does not seem to be able to fully return to the past, and it is dangerous to rely too much on a globalized supply chain.In order to cope with rising geopolitical conflicts and guard against uncontrollable factors, it is necessary for the EU to control the mastery of key technologies and achieve technological independence.
There has been a chip shortage in the world recently, and some automakers' factories such as Ford have stopped production on Monday. (Online picture)
Changes in EU industrial policy
Although U.S.-European relations seem to have picked up because of Trump's resignation, Europe also knows that the era of relying on the United States and completely following the United States has passed.In addition to the German government, which has always wanted to balance its relationship between China and the United States, the French President has also actively stated recently that France and the European Union should not strike with the United States.Europe has also observed China's shortcomings in the chip industry as its weakness.Although Europe has not bad relations with the more developed regions of the chip industry such as the United States, Japan, and Taiwan, it also understands that only by achieving technological independence can it avoid being controlled by others.
More importantly, the chip will continue to be an important trump card that dominates the right to speak in science and technology. Although Europe is not lagging behind in the chip industry, if it can rise to the next level, it will increase the EU's right to speak in the world. The EU countries are in their own interests.Europe also knows that it has to concentrate on the development of science and technology, especially to catch up with the more advanced United States. It is not enough to rely on the economic liberalism promoted by the United States, so it will provide government subsidies.
It is even more likely that the European Union may refer to Japan’s "super-large integrated circuits (i.e. "semiconductor"Or "chip")" plan, forcing technology giants such as Hitachi, NEC, Mitsubishi, etc. to put aside domestic competition and share chip and semiconductor technology with each other, and concentrate on improving the level to compete with other countries' technology.This is actually similar to China's industrial policy in recent years.In implementing industrial and economic policies in Europe, perhaps more consideration will be given to the use of government power, which means that its economic policy beliefs are slowly changing.
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