Computer chips: USA fear dependence on Asia, want to produce itself


The White House has started discussions with chip manufacturers Intel and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.). The goal is to build modern chip factories in the United States. The coronavirus pandemic is increasing government concern about international delivery difficulties. Dependency on Taiwan in particular is seen as a major risk in Washington, not least for arms production.

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The reports that Wall Street Journal relying on government documents. State-of-the-art factories can produce structures as small as ten nanometers or even less. This saves wafers and reduces power consumption and thus waste heat from the computer chips, which in turn enables faster computing cycles.

However, there are only three manufacturers that can handle such tiny structures in quantities: Intel in the USA, TSMC in Taiwan and Samsung in South Korea. TSMC is particularly important because it is a supplier for important providers such as AMD, Nvidia or Qualcomm who cannot or do not want to order from Samsung. Intel mainly produces for its own needs.

Exactly that could change: According to the newspaper report, Intel CEO Bob Swan in a letter to the Ministry of Defense at the end of April emphasized his willingness to work with the Ministry to build a new commercial chip factory that would then accept orders from third parties. This is to secure the chip supply for the US arms industry.