Paul van Gerven
11 April

The US and the European Union have agreed to keep a close eye on China’s output of mature semiconductors. “We intend to continue to collect and share non-confidential information and market intelligence about non-market policies and practices, commit to consulting each other on planned actions and may develop joint or cooperative measures to address distortionary effects on the global supply chain for legacy semiconductors,” according to a statement following the EU-US Trade and Technology Council, held 4 and 5 April 2024 in Leuven.

Trendforce mature semiconductor capacity
Distribution of global mature and advanced foundry capacity by region, 2023-2027. Note: “Advanced process node” is defined as a non-planar transistor architecture process, including ≤ 16/14nm nodes. Also, “mature process node” is defined as including ≥ 28nm nodes. Source: Trendforce

An investment spree by Chinese firms has stoked fears of Chinese chips flooding global markets, killing off the competition and ultimately giving China control over this segment of the semiconductor market. According to research from Trendforce, China currently has 44 operational fabs, with an additional 22 under construction. By the end of 2024, 32 Chinese fabs will expand their capacity for 28-nanometer and older mature chips. The market research firm predicts that China’s share of mature process capacity in the global market will increase from 31 percent in 2023 to 39 percent by 2027, with further growth potential if equipment procurement progresses smoothly.

The US Bureau of Industry and Security has already started a review of the mature semiconductor supply chain in January. The EU may follow suit. The US is also talking to Japan about the issue, and reports suggest that the Biden administration wants to involve the G7.