Consumer price rises loom while dearth of semiconductors slow production from Samsung to Ford


Expect cars to cost more, phones to cost more. This year’s iPhone is not going to be cheaper than last year

…to the surprise of literally nobody lol.

Anyway, some weeks ago I came across an article on the same topic which gives a few more details on the ongoing shortage:

Why can’t chip manufacturers just increase output to meet demand?

In short, a perfect storm of problems has hit the semiconductor industry. Much of the world’s supply of computer chips comes from Taiwan, and most are made by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which has been dealt a double whammy.

Compounding the pandemic trouble is the trade war between the US and China. US chip firm Xilinx has had to suspend some sales to Chinese consumer electronics company Huawei after then-President Donald Trump put Huawei on a trade blacklist over national security fears. China is now working on building up its own production of chips. The US is doing the same, and getting TSMC to build a $12 billion chip factory on its own shores. Everyone wants to be able to guarantee their own supply of chips, and the current shortage has made it an even higher priority.

As if that wasn’t enough, the weather is also against many chip-makers. The manufacturing process requires lots of water. TSMC makes chips for dozens of companies and churns through 156,000 tonnes of water a day normally. But there are serious droughts in Taiwan at the moment, reservoirs are drying up and the firm is now bringing water to the factory in trucks.

And there’s still more. A fire struck a chip factory in Japan in October, while an unseasonably cold snap in Texas also temporarily shut down plants there.

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