Pragmatic founder suggests US move over lack of government chip support

Pragmatic US Image credit: FOTOGRIN via Shutterstock

The founder of Pragmatic Semiconductor has suggested the UK chip company may move operations to the US if the government doesn’t support the industry.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Scott White, who co-founded Pragmatic Semiconductor in 2010, said that government efforts to support UK microchip production have not adequately convinced the Cambridge-based firm to keep operations on home soil.

According to White, who stepped down as CEO this month but remains an executive director, Pragmatic intends to build more factories to ramp up production and is strongly considering the US as the base of operations for additional manufacturing.

White pointed to the CHIPS Act in the US, which provides billions of dollars in support for semiconductor companies as an attractive measure for companies like Pragmatic.

He described the situation as a “tricky balancing act” because there “isn’t the ability to raise funding for this kind of business effectively in the UK, you end up going to foreign investors”.

White also warned that these factors could prevent the company from seeking a listing on the London Stock Exchange.

“If all of our manufacturing ends up being overseas and all of our customers are overseas, it just wouldn’t make any sense,” he told Bloomberg.

The UK government has been under significant pressure to protect its sovereignty in the chip industry, particularly as China, the US and the EU have all already made major moves in securing their shares of the vital technology.

Industry experts have been calling for the government to publish its long-awaiting semiconductor strategy.

In an interview with UKTN, Pragmatic co-founder and CTO Richard Price said he encouraged the government to provide “tax and investment incentives” for the semiconductor industry, but acknowledged the UK would have a tough time competing with major global players.