The European Union is considering building an advanced semiconductor fab in Europe, aiming to reduce the continent’s dependency on chip imports, Bloomberg reports. The EU may try to involve Samsung or TSMC, but nothing has been decided, according to a French official. A TSMC spokeswoman said the Taiwanese foundry doesn’t rule out the possibility, while Samsung has yet to comment.
Previously, a group of EU members signed a joint declaration to collaborate on “strengthening Europe’s capacity to develop the next generation of processors and semiconductors. This includes chips and embedded systems that offer the best performance for specific applications across a wide range of sectors as well as leading-edge manufacturing progressively advancing towards 2nm nodes for processor technology.” The European Commission welcomed and supported the declaration but hasn’t made any concrete announcements about building a fab on European soil. The Commission also didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.
If Europe is indeed talking to Samsung or TSMC, it would be following the example of the United States, which has already convinced TSMC to build a 5nm fab in Arizona and reportedly Samsung is eyeing Texas for a 3nm chip factory. The indigenous US semiconductor industry, too, would like to see America’s manufacturing base get a boost. Last week, 21 CEOs of US chip design and manufacturing companies sent a letter to President Biden, urging him to increase funding for semiconductor manufacturing and research. The White House has confirmed that it’s looking at longer-term support for the industry.