The EU will spend huge sums of money to invite TSMC and Samsung to set up factories to build a semiconductor chip industry chain

According to Taiwan Economic Daily, after the US government invited semiconductor industry manufacturers to talk, the EU also plans to provide huge subsidies and invite Intel, TSMC and Samsung to set up factories to build their own semiconductor industry chain. In this regard, TSMC has a low-key attitude and did not respond.

Spending tens of billions of euros, the EU wants to compete with the United States and Asia

According to German media reports, the shortage of automotive chips has had a huge impact on Europe, highlighting the dilemma of Europe’s over-reliance on imports of semiconductors. Therefore, Europe believes that it is necessary to strengthen the semiconductor industry chain. Among them, the advanced process below 10nm is of particular interest to the EU, and plans to expand the design and manufacturing capacity in this field.

“Europe is not naive, but it doesn’t want to be isolated,” said Thierry Breton, the EU’s executive commissioner for industry and services, in an interview, noting that Asian and American manufacturers are welcome to set up factories. Interested in working with international partners, but also want to be in the driver’s seat.”

It is reported that in order to compete with the new fab plans in the United States and Asia, the EU will provide tens of billions of euros in subsidies to attract foreign investors to set up factories. On the 30th, Breton plans to hold talks with representatives of chip leaders Intel, TSMC, and Samsung, all three of which are key targets for EU investment. It is reported that the new European plant that Breton plans to negotiate with Intel will be several times larger than the current largest wafer production base in Europe and GF’s plant in Dresden, Germany. In addition, Breton is also preparing to meet with the CEOs of NXP, a Dutch semiconductor manufacturer, and ASML, a Dutch semiconductor production equipment manufacturer, to discuss the possibility of building a European semiconductor industry chain.

The EU’s Vision: Winning 2nm Chips

Just in March this year, the European Union released the 2030 Digital Compass Plan (2030 Digital Compass Plan), proposing the vision and approach of digital transformation in Europe by 2030, and formulating a number of technologies related to the Internet of Vehicles, smartphones, chips and other fields. The goals include: by 2030, the value of advanced chips produced in Europe will account for 20% of the world’s value, build the first quantum computer by itself within five years, etc., reduce the EU’s dependence on key technologies from the United States and China, and achieve full 5G coverage in densely populated areas.

Specifically include:

1. Number of experts: 20 million on-the-job information and communication technology (ICT) experts.

2. 5G communication: The gigabit network covers all European homes, enabling 5G to cover densely populated areas in Europe.

3. 2nm chips: The value of advanced chips produced in Europe accounts for 20% of the world’s total, aiming at the 2nm node, and the energy efficiency is 10 times that of today.

4. Edge/Cloud: Deploy 10,000 climate-neutral and highly secure edge nodes to help Europe develop its own cloud infrastructure to ensure businesses can quickly access data services with low latency of a few milliseconds.

5. Quantum computing: By 2025, Europe will have the first computer with quantum acceleration.

6. Digital enterprises: 75% of European enterprises are in cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence and other fields.

7. Digital SMEs: Make more than 90% of European SMEs at least a basic level of digital intensity.

8. The number of unicorns: Double the number of unicorns with a valuation of $1 billion by expanding the scale of innovation and improving financing channels.

9. Critical public services: 100% online critical public services for European citizens and businesses.

10. Telemedicine: 100% of European citizens have access to medical records (Electronic records).

11. Digital ID: 80% of citizens will use digital ID solutions.

Let’s take a look specifically at what is mentioned in terms of semiconductor chips: “2nm chips: advanced chips produced in Europe account for 20% of the world’s value, targeting the 2nm node, which is 10 times more energy efficient than today.”

As we all know, Europe used to be one of the most developed regions in the semiconductor industry in the world, especially the three giants of Infineon, ST and NXP. Both in terms of revenue and ranking, they have always maintained a relatively stable position with little fluctuation. . This is because the European semiconductor industry has long relied on Europe’s traditional strengths in mechanical engineering and the automotive industry. This historical precipitation has made power semiconductors and automotive semiconductors the most competitive areas in the European semiconductor industry, but because of this, the three European giants seem to be more stable than dynamic.

Over the years, Europe has also tried to improve its own chip manufacturing capabilities, but there has been no more advanced fabs. The original foundry has always been controlled by the United States, South Korea, and Taiwan’s TSMC in terms of revenue.

Industry analysts believe that the main reason why the European chip manufacturing industry is standing still is that it does not pay enough attention to the chip industry. So that’s why the EU is now throwing out plans to build a new foundry, or retrofit an existing one, to help boost European semiconductor production. Some industry players proposed that to meet the above goals, major foundries such as TSMC and Samsung must be invited to participate. However, regarding the establishment of new factories in Europe, TSMC has emphasized that there is currently no specific plan to set up factories in Europe, and other manufacturers have also expressed that they need time to evaluate.

How hard is it to achieve a 2nm process?The 17 EU countries can’t keep up with TSMC

We all know Moore’s Law. Every 18 to 24 months, the number of transistors on a chip doubles, and the performance doubles accordingly. This law is regarded as the basic principle for the development of chip manufacturing process, and it has been verified countless times since the birth of the first integrated circuit.

Take TSMC, the world’s largest foundry leader, as an example. TSMC represents the most advanced chip technology level at present. From 28nm to 14nm, then to 7nm and 5nm, each time TSMC breaks through is about two years. In the second half of last year, TSMC achieved mass production of 5nm chips, and is now moving towards 3nm and 2nm processes.

It is reported that TSMC established a 2nm project R&D team as early as 2019. In September last year, Taiwanese media reported that TSMC’s 2nm process had made a major breakthrough. Unlike TSMC’s current advanced nodes and the 3nm that will be mass-produced, TSMC will apply the GAAFET architecture for the first time on 2nm, specifically MBCFET.

Specifically, typical GAAFETs, which are called nanowires with “thin” fins. MBCFETs, on the other hand, are called nanosheets with “thick” fins. The MBCFET architecture based on the gate all around (GAA) process can be used to solve the physical limit problem of FinFET current-controlled leakage due to process scaling. Due to the advanced R&D progress of TSMC, the industry is optimistic that its risk trial production yield rate can reach 90% in the second half of 2023.

Where is the EU in 2nm R&D? From the point of view of action, it is a big fanfare, but in fact, no effective results have been seen so far. At the end of last year, 17 of the 24 countries in the EU jointly announced an ambitious “Joint Statement on European Processor and Semiconductor Technology Plan”, which aims to encourage EU joint research and investment in advanced processors and semiconductor processes.

The statement pointed out that the EU’s semiconductor technology does not match its own economic status, which obviously accounts for 16% of global GDP, but in the semiconductor market worth 440 billion euros, the share of EU countries is only 10%.

Therefore, the plan proposes that 145 billion euros, or about 1.2 trillion yuan, may be invested in the next two or three years to promote EU countries to master crucial semiconductor technology. The EU focused on 2nm advanced process manufacturing, which is a new process to be mass-produced in the future, and the most advanced 5nm process is currently. The developed countries in Western Europe, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Italy, who joined the statement, are also one of the most powerful semiconductor teams in the world. But so far, the EU’s 2nm chip research and development plan seems to be just a “plan”…

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