US officials are working with some of the world’s leading chipmakers in an effort to expand semiconductor manufacturing capability in the United States, a move intended to reduce the industry’s reliance on producers in East Asia for those crucial electronics components. That would be a major shift for an industry that relies heavily on foreign production, largely from Taiwan, South Korea and China. And that transition may already be underway — semiconductor fabrication giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will soon announce plans to build an advanced chipmaking facility in Arizona to help quell US officials’ concern, according to a Thursday report in The Wall Street Journal.
Some US officials contend that an investment in domestic semiconductor manufacturing would bolster national security — cutting edge microchips have crucial military and defense applications. It could also be seen as an escalation of tension between the United States and China as they wrestle for technological dominance. “It would be a fundamental reconfiguration of the entire industry,” Scott Kennedy, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CNN Business. “Semiconductors and the information and communications technology sector are “about as globalized as any industry on the planet,” he said.