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UK tech is calling for a microchip strategy. Is it too late?

microchip strategy
Image credit: Maksim Shmeljov via Shutterstock

Semiconductors are everywhere, powering everything from the latest games console to your kitchen toaster. For all the warnings from industry, the UK risks falling behind in this crucial sector. The government’s long-awaited microchip strategy remains unpublished. With the likes of China, the US and Europe investing heavily in silicon, has the UK left it too late?

A microchip consists of a set of integrated circuits housed on a piece of silicon. They are the brains of electronic devices, performing the computations that arguably underpin much of the global economy.

Their strategic importance was underscored by the global chip shortage during the pandemic, forcing automakers to close production lines and pushing up the price of consumer electronics.

Seemingly this was not enough of a wake-up call for the UK, which has extremely limited manufacturing capacity. Much of the world’s semiconductor manufacturing takes place in Asia, with Taiwan’s microchip foundries producing 80% of the world’s chips....