The speed with which technologies are advancing and, mainly, the integration of the possibilities of new products and services has created a codependency between the different sectors of the world’s industry.
A perfect example of this process is what happens with the chip and semiconductor industry. With the advent of multifunctional apps in cars, real estate and the internet of things, in particular, we are increasingly dependent on these small fragments that enable so many features.
In order to take control of its own needs, France announced in early July the construction of a chip factory in Crolles. The measure is in line with the decisions of the European Commission and the EU Chips Act. France now expects EU investment in cooperation as the factory benefits all countries in the group.
Europe’s dependence on Asian countries and the United States for chips and semiconductors is nothing new. Thus, the evolution of technologies and the gradual increase in world demand has caused distress to the continent’s leaders.
The issue has even been the cause of crises in the automobile, telecommunications and health sectors. The lack of available material meant that the activities and profits of these sectors were threatened.
In this context, the European Commission determined the creation of the EU Chips Act, which authorizes a budget of up to 15 billion Euros for investment in companies to produce chips and semiconductors for the EU. The measure goes further, the commission’s intention is to increase Europe’s share of the global market, reaching around 20% by 2030.
The continent’s organization towards chip independence is also a response to the US Chips Act. The American plan intends to invest up to 52 billion dollars to increase competitiveness with China in the sector.
Faced with heavy investment from both countries, Europe is under pressure to boost its own production or remain uncertainly dependent on the two countries for an item so essential for economic development.
The french factory
It was in this context that France announced at the beginning of July the factory on French soil of the companies STMicro and GlobalFoundries. So far, however, the European Commission’s share of investment in the venture has not been announced.
The known budget of the new plant is approximately €7 billion. Most of the investment will be the responsibility of the companies (approximately 6.7 billion euros), but the French government will also be part of the financing.
The exact amount has not yet been disclosed precisely because Emanuel Macron expects to receive subsidies from the European Commission for the construction of the new factory, in line with the EU Chips Act.
The proximity of the location of the factory to the borders (Crolles) of Italy and Switzerland make this an important promise for the advancement of the chip independence project from Europe.
However, the fact that the construction of the chip factory desired by Europe is precisely in France confirms one of the main fears of smaller countries.
Given the availability of resources, it was already expected that the new large factories would be located in one of the richest countries (Italy, France, Germany or the Netherlands), which would allocate even more resources and opportunities to these countries, increasing inequality already existing.
Other companies such as the American Intel, and the Asian companies Samsung and TSMC also show intentions to create addresses in Europe. In the case of Intel, the chosen territory would be Germany.
As a result, the tech world is now turning its eyes to Europe as a result of established policies that include, but not limited to, the EU Chip Act. All these measures are part of a larger process of digitization and decarbonization, flags decidedly adopted by the European continent.