The Great Semiconductor Shortage | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

The Great Semiconductor Shortage

By Peter C. Earle

Silicon is the crude oil of the Digital Age. Millions of metric tons are mined every year in China, Russia, Norway, the US and elsewhere, much of which is used in the $500 billion global market for semiconductors. In turn, the manufactured silicon chips, wafers, and integrated circuits power tens of trillions of dollars worth of hardware running personal and business software, wired and wireless communication devices, consumer electronics, automotive components, industrial technology, and other critical processes worldwide.

Manufacturing semiconductors involves not only a network of highly specialized firms in an often multistage production process, but a dependence upon firms which produce the ultra-high precision equipment for the fabrication procedure. Thus while silicon is a metalloid and accordingly a commodity, the various chips employing it describe a spectrum of complexity that runs from basic microcontrollers to high performance processors: each of which rarely has substitutes...