Europe must not exit chip business, says SEMI

LONDON – Europe's leading chip companies must join forces to compete in the investment-intensive semiconductor business, according to Heinz Kundert, president of the Europe branch of industry association SEMI.

“Europe must not risk walking away from the most important global key industry, or we will fall behind in other international industries, too,” he said in a statement issued to coincide with the opening of the three-day Semicon Europa exhibition being held in Dresden, Germany, Oct. 9 to 11.

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Kundert said Europe is at a crossroads. The European Commission has recently re-emphasized the importance of micro- and nanoelectronics as key enabling technologies of strategic interest to wealth creation in Europe. However, over the last decade Europe's chip companies have increasingly pulling back from the extreme cost of leading-edge of digital chip manufacture and started implementing so-called fab-lite strategies.

In his text Kundert acknowledged that European companies cannot cope with the necessary investments on their own any more. “Therefore it is important for the industry to see itself as a European industry that is advocating its coordinated and consolidated interests both with the European Commission and with national governments. We all need to speak with one voice,” Kundert said. “At the same time we have to clarify to what extent the key-enabling-technology-initiative is represented in EU promotional programs.”

Semicon Europa is being held alongside the Plastic Electronics Exhibition and Conference, the International MEMS/MST Forum and the Advanced Packaging Conference.

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