NEWS RELEASE                                                                                    February 2022

Semiconductor Projects and Operations will be Heavily Impacted by the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Intel, Qualcomm, Nvidia—and other U.S. companies create software that others use to design their own chips. Blocking Russian access to key U.S. design tools and brand name chips could cripple the Russian tech industry. All modern tech, including cars, smartphones and missiles, are dependent on semiconductors supplies.

When the U.S. placed a blockade on chip sales to Huawei, it was TSMC that complied and severed ties with Huawei. This crippled the company. Extrapolating from this one case one can see it is possible to severely damage Russia and reduce its fighting effectiveness.

Another complication is the fact that Russia makes palladium and also makes materials for gases which Ukraine refines and are then used to make semiconductors.

The risk is major damage to the world economy. However since Putin raised the possibility of using his nuclear arsenal, other risks pale by comparison. Many see this as a war between autocracy and democracy which could determine world life quality for many decades.

The Biden administration is planning some semiconductor related sanctions. McIlvaine will be closely following and reporting on the initiative.

The future involvement of China will also be closely followed. Russia and China have forged ties and improved trade relations. China lays claim to Taiwan in much the same way that Putin claims Ukraine. 

Taiwan now accounts for 92% of the world's most advanced semiconductor manufacturing capacity. South Korea holds the remaining 8%. China is the only country with influence on North Korea. In a worst case scenario China gains control of all the advanced semiconductor manufacturing and supplies Russia with its needs.

The U.S. government is helping to fund advanced chip making facilities in the U.S. TSMC is building a plant in Arizona. The plant, scheduled to start production of chips in 2024, will enable TSMC’s American customers to fabricate their semiconductor products domestically. It will use the company’s 5-nanometer technology and is expected to create 1,600 jobs and have the capacity to produce 20,000 wafers a month.

IBM has unveiled a 2 nanometer chip which is projected to achieve 45 percent higher performance, than the 7 nanometer chip.

Samsung and TSMC have announced intentions to ramp up their 3nm processes in the second half of 2022.

If NATO countries utilized chips with 45% faster processing capability than Russia, it would be a game changer. So both development of the technology and control by NATO countries could be one of the major tools in preventing autocratic takeovers.

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