Spain wants to lead the way in Europe in terms of microchip and semiconductor development.
In the words of Pedro Sánchez at the ‘Wake up, Spain’ tech conference on Monday April 4th: “The Spanish government wants our country to be at the forefront of industrial and technological progress”.
Microchips and semiconductors are everywhere and needed for all manner of modern technology to function. Digital products in everyday life such as smartphones, digital cameras, televisions, washing machines, cars, fridges, medical devices and LED bulbs all use these tiny integrated circuits.
In 2020, more than 932 billion chips were manufactured around the world and in 2021 production continued growing into a €550 billion industry.
Covid-19 restrictions led to a global shortage of microchips and semiconductors as well as supply chain bottlenecks, in part as a result of their production still being mainly centred in Asia, namely in Taiwan.
“Semiconductors are essential elements in all energy sectors and acquire global geostrategic importance in the context of digital transformation”, Sánchez stressed.
His words come at a time when the war in Ukraine has forced many European countries to question their dependency on Russian natural gas and their lack of self-sustainability overall.
Spain’s Prime Minister highlighted that Spain is at the centre of economic recovery plans in Europe and that it has already received €19 billion from the European Commission.
“Receiving the funds was the first of the challenges, but the important challenge now is to execute (the measures) quickly and efficiently,” he added, and that “they have an impact on people’s daily lives”.
US tech giant Intel is also set to invest an initial US$17 billion (€15.4 billion) to build a semiconductor factory in Germany and R&D facilities in France, Poland and Ireland.
The Spanish government is yet to give more details about what its new €11 billion microchip plan will consist of, but it is set to be approved by the European Commission soon.