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Global Semiconductor Race: US and EU Invest $81 Billion

WASHINGTON, DC – Major powers, including the US and the European Union, have directed almost $81 billion toward accelerating the development of next-generation semiconductors, intensifying a global competition with China for dominance in chip technology.

This initial injection is part of a larger pool of approximately $380 billion allocated by governments worldwide to companies like Intel Corp. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to ramp up the production of more advanced microprocessors. This surge has elevated the rivalry between Washington and Beijing in cutting-edge technology to a pivotal moment that will shape the trajectory of the global economy.

According to Jimmy Goodrich, senior China and strategic technology adviser to the RAND Corp., the competition over semiconductors has reached a decisive stage, indicating its significance as a top strategic priority for both sides.

What began as apprehension over China’s rapid technological progress in crucial electronics has evolved into a full-blown concern during the pandemic, as chip shortages underscored the critical role of these small components in economic stability. The outcome of this competition holds implications ranging from the revival of US tech manufacturing to establishing supremacy in artificial intelligence and maintaining peace in the Taiwan Strait.

The increased semiconductor spending by the US and its allies poses a fresh challenge to Beijing’s longstanding industrial policies, though its impact will likely unfold over the years. This influx of funding has solidified battle lines in the US-China trade conflict, extending to regions like Japan and the Middle East. It also represents a lifeline for Intel, once a dominant force in chip manufacturing, which has faced stiff competition from rivals like Nvidia Corp. and TSMC in recent years.

In the US, investment plans have reached a critical juncture, with officials announcing grants totaling $6.1 billion for Micron Technology Inc., the largest American producer of computer memory chips. This marked the culmination of a series of multibillion-dollar commitments, nearing $33 billion, to companies such as Intel, TSMC, and Samsung Electronics Co.

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