The UK government is focused on reforming the semiconductor industry and plans to leverage its strengths in designing and producing non-silicon chips and intellectual property rights.
On Friday 19 May, the UK announced £1 billion ($1.2 billion) in aid to the semiconductor industry. The move would join the UK in competition with the US and EU to boost domestic chip manufacturing capacity and reduce its reliance on foreign firms.
The investment is part of the country’s 20-year strategy for semiconductors after facing lengthy delays in the past. It also outlines the UK’s plans to secure chip supplies and protect against other national security risks.
The strategy, unveiled on Friday, includes a series of measures to boost the UK’s domestic chip sector. It also provides national security while reducing the risk of supply chain disruptions. The move will also see the UK step up cooperation with its international partners.
Earlier this week, the UK signed a deal with Japan to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the semiconductor and defense sectors. The UK government plans to invest £200m over the next two years, 2023-2025, and expand its commitment to £1bn over the next decade.
The funding will provide access to prototyping, tools and business support, as well as help improve our talent pipeline. British Prime Minister Rishi Snak spoke about the development. Said Inside the statement:
“Semiconductors power the devices we use every day and are critically important to advancing the technology of tomorrow. Our new strategy will focus on where our strength lies in areas such as research and design. By increasing the capacity and resilience of the world’s leading semiconductor industry, we can grow our economy, create new jobs and We will continue to stay at the forefront of new innovations.”
Leverage your expertise
The UK has established an Advisory Board of industry, government and academic stakeholders to work together towards common solutions and implementations. Instead of taking the route of big spending promises as in the US and EU, the UK will take a different approach to strengthening areas of expertise.
The UK has no plans to build a large-scale chip factory like the one Taiwanese chip giant TSMC has built. Instead, it will focus on other parts of the semiconductor industry, including non-silicon chip design and manufacturing and intellectual property rights.
Britain was supposed to announce its semiconductor strategy last year, but faced repeated delays due to domestic political unrest. Meanwhile, the US and EU have already pledged billions of dollars.
The UK is a major player in the global chip market, with a focus on design, intellectual property, research and advanced compound semiconductor manufacturing. The company holds valuable semiconductor assets, including the highly popular chip design firm Arm, which is based in Cambridge and licenses the chips used in about 95% of the world’s smartphones. In addition, the country has made significant contributions to the development of ultra-thin semiconductor wafers using graphene.
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