UK To Subsidize Semiconductor Firms in Bid To Make Domestic Chips – Slashdot

The UK government will provide direct taxpayer funding to support British semiconductor companies as part of a strategy for a sector that has become a lightning rod in global geopolitics, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the plans. From the report: This will include seed money for startups, help for existing firms to scale up, as well as providing new incentives for private venture capital, the officials said. Ministers will set up a semiconductor task force to coordinate public and private support to ramp up UK manufacturing of compound semiconductors in the next three years, they added. An overall figure has not been agreed with the Treasury but it is expected to be single figure billions of pounds, one person familiar with the plans said.

Chips are vital components in everything from mobile phones to cars, and shortages have the potential to cause significant disruption to supply chains. Companies already affected by the Covid-19 pandemic are reconsidering their investments in the UK due to frustrations over delays in formulating a strategy. Compound semiconductors are based on different materials to conventional “silicon” chips and are used in newer technologies like 5G wireless and electric vehicles. A UK push to develop local semiconductor manufacturing would echo US efforts to restrict exports of the technology to China and hobble its push into the chips industry. The Netherlands and Japan, key chip-making countries, are close to joining with the US to curb links with Beijing.

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