After years of exporting semiconductor manufacturing overseas, the Trump administration, Intel and TSMC are in talks to open chip factories in the US.
For years companies have relied on Asian semiconductor factories for the most critical components powering computers, phones, tablets and more. In addition to the cheaper cost associated with oversees manufacturing, there has also been the benefit of scale. With entire industries located in concentrated areas of Asia, companies are able to tap into a vast pool of talent, expertise and supplies.
Recent events, however, have shown the inherent dangers of relying solely on foreign manufacturing. As the coronavirus pandemic first hit China, factories that American businesses relied on were shuttered, causing problems for a wide range of companies. For example, the supply chain issues resulted in Apple facing product shortages, delayed launch dates for new products and even impacted the company’s ability to provide support and give replacement devices to customers.
The impact has not been lost on the government, or chip makers. According to The Wall Street Journal, (WSJ) officials have been talking with Intel and TSMC about building factories in the US.
“We think it’s a good opportunity,” said Greg Slater, Intel’s vice president of policy and technical affairs. “The timing is better and the demand for this is greater than it has been in the past, even from the commercial side.”
Likewise, TSMC is reportedly talking to US officials as well as Apple, one of its biggest customers, about building a factory in the US. The WSJ’s sources say officials are also interested in helping Samsung expand its existing chipmaking facilities in the US.
If the talks result in concrete action, it should go a long way toward insulating the American tech industry and help protect it from future global disasters.