After the US levied sweeping restrictions against China’s semiconductor manufacturing industry last autumn, opportunities are emerging for other countries to bolster their positions in the supply chain for this critical component of the global economy and linchpin of future technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and next-generation computing.
The manufacturing of semiconductors is dominated by three countries – China, South Korea and Taiwan – which accounted for 87% of the global market in 2021.
The US and Japan used to lead the industry and are both still major players, especially in designing chips that are outsourced to fabs in China, South Korea and Taiwan – underscoring the complicated levels of interdependence in semiconductor supply chains.
Overall production figures belie the market’s segmentation, however. Taiwan’s TSMC produces more than 90% of the world’s most advanced chips, whereas South Korea is the largest exporter in revenue terms, and China leads in total volume of production and exports.
These big-five producers have been engaging in semiconductor diplomacy to win new markets.