Already under pressure due to the surging demand for semiconductors amid the COVID-19 pandemic followed by the Russia-Ukraine war and now inflation, the chip industry is now witnessing signs of stress following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
The effects of the global chip shortage last year, highlighted the world economy’s reliance on Taiwan. The semiconductor shortage had massive knock-on effects for the auto industry, for example, forcing many large firms to halt production. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the world’s largest chip foundry and it’s Apple’s main producer of chips. During her visit to Taiwan, Pelosi met Mark Liu, chairman of the TSMC.
Cutting TSMC off from the rest of the world would currently be a major threat to the global economy, so tensions are obviously high. If production were to stop at the Taiwanese manufacturer, supply shortages would inevitably occur. These shortages could cause a global recession and stock market crash, which would likely lead to a spike in unemployment numbers at a time when many countries like the UK are currently enduring an ongoing cost of living crisis.
The negative consequences that dependencies such as these can have are currently being demonstrated more clearly than ever before by the war in Ukraine. To avoid the downside of globalization, countries are therefore increasingly turning to their own chip or semiconductor production. This is not only the case in China. In the USA and Europe, too, there are programs with the Chips Act for America and the European Chips Act, respectively, which are intended to ensure local semiconductor production.
Seeing the situation, the Indian government has launched the ‘Semiconductor Mission’ to establish a self-reliance and give boost to India’s fast-expanding electronics manufacturing and innovation ecosystem. The Union Cabinet has approved the ‘Semicon India’ programme with a total investment of Rs 76,000 crore in the growth of the country’s semiconductor and display manufacturing ecosystem. Through India Semiconductor Mission (ISM), the central government wants to encourage the use of secure microelectronics and the establishment of a reliable semiconductor supply chain, including raw materials, speciality chemicals, gases, and production equipment.