Much has been written about the current semiconductor chip shortage, which is expected to last another year or two or three. This article from The New York Times provides an interesting look at the geopolitics of chip production:
"[A] massive machine sold by a Dutch company has emerged as a key lever for policymakers — and illustrates how any country’s hopes of building a completely self-sufficient supply chain in semiconductor technology are unrealistic. The machine is made by ASML Holding, based in Veldhoven [Netherlands]. Its system uses a different kind of light to define ultrasmall circuitry on chips, packing more performance into the small slices of silicon. The tool, which took decades to develop and was introduced for high-volume manufacturing in 2017, costs more than $150 million. Shipping it to customers requires 40 shipping containers, 20 trucks and three Boeing 747s.
The complex machine is widely acknowledged as necessary for making the most advanced chips, an ability with geopolitical implications. The Trump administration successfully lobbied the Dutch government to block shipments of such a machine to China in 2019, and the Biden administration has shown no signs of reversing that stance. Manufacturers can’t produce leading-edge chips without the system.... Will Hunt, a research analyst at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, ... has concluded that it would take China at least a decade to build its own similar equipment. ... The tool’s three-continent development and production — using expertise and parts from Japan, the United States and Germany — is also a reminder of just how global that supply chain is, providing a reality check for any country that wants to leap ahead in semiconductors by itself."
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