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The Semiconductor Industry is More Than Chips

Whilst around a 50% share of the global semiconductor industry sounds like a healthy figure, it masks the fact that the industry isn’t confined to the production of semiconductor chips. 

The semiconductor industry consists of three main types of company: those that design and fabricate their chips, those that design their own chips but have them fabricated elsewhere, and those who don’t actually create semiconductors at all but do create the plant, tools, and other infrastructure needed for semiconductor fabrication and/or design outfit to operate effectively.

Recent figures show that the percentage of semiconductors that are fabricated in the US has fallen dramatically – from a high of 37% of all semiconductors manufactured globally in the 1990s, today the US is responsible for just 12% of global semiconductor fabrication. 

The largest part of the US semiconductor industry is related to the manufacture of machinery, tools, and equipment for manufacturing semiconductors elsewhere, rather than semiconductors themselves.

What Does the Future Hold for the Semiconductor Industry?

What is a Semiconductor?

At its most basic, a semiconductor is simply a material that can act as both an electrical insulator and a conductor. It forms the basis of transistors – devices that can switch or amplify an electric current. A semiconductor chip is a complex combination of wiring and transistors, stamped onto a tiny silicon chip. 

Semiconductors are used to form integrated circuits (IC) – these are tiny, complex circuits that can perform the same function as a larger circuit made from a number of components.


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