UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is reportedly about to follow in the footsteps of the US and several European governments by announcing a funding package designed to build up the country’s domestic semiconductor industry, according to a report this week from Politico.
While the exact amount of the funding could change, according to Politico’s sources, a topline figure of £1 billion ($1.25 billion) is expected. The UK government’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology is thought to be the prime mover behind the policy, and Sunak is said to be planning to unveil it in next month’s G7 meeting in Japan.
Nations build chipmaking capabilities
Government efforts to build domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity have been spurred largely by the events of the pandemic, the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing US semiconductor trade dispute with China. The former event, thanks to the consequent enormous upsurge of remote work, created a new wave of semiconductor demand, highlighting the dependence of the global technology sector on foundries in East Asia. US policy dating back to the Trump administration then created a new set of barriers to exports from China, while the invasion of Ukraine further exacerbated strains on the global supply chain.