It’s likely that popular products like gaming consoles and graphics cards will be a lot easier and cheaper to buy for the foreseeable future, at least in the US. The United States Congress eventually approved a bill that would inject $52 billion into the local semiconductor industry.
Passed by a majority in the House of Representatives, the CHIPS and Science Act calls for total spending of $280 billion, of which $52 billion will be spent on subsidies for chipmakers, which is intended to attract companies to build semiconductor fabs in the United States. It has already been approved by the US Senate.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many industries, but especially on companies that use many microchips for different purposes in production. Demand for electronics like laptops, tablets, and gaming consoles skyrocketed as people spent so much time at home. At the same time, supply disruptions to semiconductors set in, resulting in a shortage of many commodities on the market that many manufacturers are only now beginning to deal with effectively.
The crisis has inspired American lawmakers to launch an initiative that will create conditions for building semiconductor factories in the United States, employing American workers and, of course, prioritizing the delivery of products to the local market. If manufacturers have preferred doing business in Asia over the last few decades, then the CHIPS and Science Act should encourage them to change course.
The CHIPS and Science Act is the final version of the bill, which has undergone many textual and semantic changes since the concept was first published in 2019. The first version was called the Endless Frontier Act, but last summer the local Senate approved an updated version – the US Innovation and Competition Act, after which a number of changes were also made.
As a result, local congressmen drafted a less ambitious CHIPS and Science Act – some ambitions had to be abandoned, but it provides billions in support for industry.
In addition to subsidies for chip manufacturing, the law will allow the Department of Commerce to award $10 billion in grants to states and localities affected by industrial globalization. Billions more are allocated to the US National Science Foundation for research into semiconductor manufacturing and the implementation of human resource development programs.
The bill has not yet been signed into law by US President Joe Biden, but there is no doubt that he approves – he has repeatedly advocated for the CHIPS Act and related initiatives and pushed lawmakers to implement this project.