In 2020 the COVID-19 confinement brought a series of disruptions in the supply chains of companies, mainly those that rely on suppliers from other countries.
The semiconductor crisis was a response to these disruptions, unfortunately it is a crisis that has not yet been fully addressed and all those companies that manufacture automobiles or electrical and electronic equipment, among others, continue to suffer production delays due to shortages of this product.
What are semiconductors and what are they used for?
Semiconductors are all those materials that have properties to conduct electricity; they are normally used in the manufacture of chips or integrated circuits.
In turn, these chips and integrated circuits are mainly used in all the electronic devices we use, as well as in electrical appliances and automobiles.
The main semiconductor-producing countries are Asian, especially Taiwan and South Korea, which produce 63% of the world’s total semiconductor production.
How did the crisis begin?
With the pandemic, there was a slowdown in the shipment of goods, mainly those shipped by sea. The shipment of semiconductors took longer than expected to arrive and this slowed down production in the industry.
The demand for semiconductors centralizes much of this crisis, the shocking increase in sales of electronic devices, due to the Home Office and the pursuit of home entertainment.
The problem continues with the new ecological and environmental reforms, where hybrid and electric vehicles, which require twice as much semiconductors as a combustion vehicle, are being promoted.
How to attack the problem?
A demand problem is solved with production, but in the case of semiconductors it is not as easy as it sounds. The creation of factories to increase the production capacity of these components is very expensive and takes time, the company TSMC started with the manufacture of a semiconductor plant in Arizona and is expected to start its production processes until 2024; however, large companies and some governments have begun to work on this problem by opening new plants.
- TSMC: Already announced an investment of 100 billion between 2022 and 2024.
- Samsung: Already announced an investment of 150 billion between 2022 and 2030.
- Intel: Already announced an investment of 37 billion.
- The government of the European Union has already announced an investment of 43 billion, which will be distributed directly and indirectly.
This crisis is expected to continue until 2024, a situation that will affect not only industries, but also all consumers, as the price of electrical and electronic devices may increase due to the limited supply in the face of the growing demand that has occurred in recent years.