04/11/2021 3:56 PM
Updated 04/11/2021 4:27 PM
In a new blow to the pandemic, this time against the manufacturers of transistors, it caused many cutting-edge industries such as computers, cell phones and cars, to begin to notice a significant shortage of these materials.
Semiconductors are materials, such as silicon, and, by extension,
the electronic compounds made from them
For example, the chips that allow devices to obtain, process or store data.
These compounds are indispensable for entire sectors of global industry and
are embedded in many everyday objects such as electronic devices, smartphones, computers, consoles
, cars, airplanes, computer networks and more.
They are generally tiny.
"The most advanced components
measure between 5 and 7 nanometers,
" says Jean-Christophe Eloy, CEO of Yole Développement, a company specializing in semiconductors.
Computers and cell phones, the most affected by the lack of semiconductors (Shutterstock)
The main manufacturers are in Taiwan (TSMC) and North Korea (Samsung and SK Hynix).
The United States has another important player in the sector, Intel.
The lack of some chips is also cited
as a reason for difficulties in obtaining Sony's new PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's latest Xbox
the auto sector is the most visible victim with production
, for example, blocked at a French Stellantis factory and slowed down at General Motors and Ford plants in the United States.
Globally, semiconductor shortages should "
reduce production volume by around 2% this year
" in the global automotive sector, estimates Matthias Heck, an analyst at Moody's, in a note.
Some appliance manufacturers are also beginning to experience supply difficulties.
Chipmakers have faced
a surge in demand for electronics.
Computers and game consoles are in high demand in the context of the
, which boosted telecommuting and home entertainment.
But the semiconductor market was already under pressure
from the trade war between the United States and China.
Some players, like the giant Huawei, accumulated stocks last year to limit the effects of the sanctions.
"This 'over-demand' should subside in six or nine months, since we should return to a more normal activity at the level of cars, computers, etc. But it will only subside, it will not disappear", warns Jean-Christophe Eloy.
Faced with the explosion in demand,
large manufacturers have announced a series of investments to increase their production capacity
Intel will invest 20,000 million dollars and TSMC, 100,000 million.
it takes two to four years to create a new semiconductor production plant
, the new production capacities will be on the market in 2023-2024," Eloy notes.
its technological sovereignty vis-à-vis China and the United States, the European Union (EU) hopes for its part to produce 20%
of the world's semiconductors by 2030, double that of today.
The White House also wants to study how to strengthen semiconductor manufacturing in the United States during a virtual summit on Monday with leaders of companies affected by the shortage.
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