MUNICH, Germany Against the background of Europe's dwindling role in the global semiconductor industry, SEMI industry association demands measures from the EU and the national governments to promote the European chip industry.
According to SEMI analysis, the ongoing trend to outsource manufacturing to Asia has created a threatening situation for the European industry. In particular, the decline of mainstream electronics production will have a negative impact on Europe's overall competiveness, the association warns. While some elements of the supply chain such as R&D, system integration and small-scale production have managed to keep competitive in Europe, the core elements continue to erode.
"Without major semiconductor manufacturing, eventually knowledge-based activities will also relocate to other regions with severe consequences for Europe's competitiveness, the association warns in a white paper.
In the paper, the association denominates six topics for which it believes governmental or EU funding and promotion would be necessary in order to stop that erosion and to strengthen the competitiveness of the European industry.
For instance, SEMI proposes to increase funding for chip R&D as well as manufacturing. In particular, the access to technology and funding for small and medium enterprises should be facilitated.
Furthermore, the microelectronics supply chain needs to be supported. In order to do so, the association believes it is necessary to stimulate and promote the creation of industry clusters, following the model of other regions.
The further claims include promoting the education, protection of intellectual property, and involving the industry in relevant environmental and health legislation. First of all, however, it is necessary to develop a European vision for the semiconductor industry.
"Microelectronics have been, and continue to be, the driving force for technologies in all industries, helping to address societal challenges such as safety, climate change, energy shortages and health," said SEMI Europe president Heinz Kundert. Better incentives in other regions have contributed to diminished European competitiveness, he pointed out. According to Kundert, it is vital to take immediate action. "It is late, but not too late," Kundert said.
SEMI Europe represents equipment and material suppliers to the semiconductor industry. Its member companies employ about 100.000 persons and create an annual turnover of about 9 billion (about $12.8 billion).