Europe's Semiconductor Fall: Is It as Steep as Some Say?
September 17, 2021 — Strategy and Tactics: Europe's semiconductor fall: Is it as steep as some say? WildPhotons: The bugs always come...
G. Dan Hutcheson
Europe's semiconductor fall: Is it as steep as some say?
I keep seeing the BCG's datapoint showing Europe held 44% of semiconductor manufacturing capacity in 1990. This should not pass the sniff test for anyone in the industry back then or at least anyone that did a small amount of research about the timeframe. Otherwise, the world would have been outraged about Europe's share, not Japan's at the time. My reason to point it out is simple: bad data leads to costly decision errors... Now I can't really say how they came up with such a high number for 1990, but I can see 2 scenarios for how it came to be: First is the analysis excluded capacity that was less than 200mm. In 1990, 200mm was still in R&D and wouldn't arrive to production until 1993... Second, it could have been a simple transpositional error in data entry. Japan held just over 44% of production in wafer area in 1990, which was its peak year...
China, Korea, and Taiwan have been the real force behind the regional redistribution of semiconductor manufacturing. From less than 7% in 1990, CKT have risen to hold a combined wafer fab production total of 61% in 2020. Greater China (China + Taiwan) had 36%, which was more than the combined total for Japan, Europe, and the United States of just 32%. No doubt about it, this is a concerning geopolitical threat for these latter three to ponder in the post-global world. Especially when one considers that geopolitical concerns in the 19th century centered on managing growth of the industrial economy, the 20th Century on managing access to the oil to fuel it, and 2021�s global awakening to the 21st Century being about managing control of the semiconductor production to digitize the economy.
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