Pn one of those oddities of the French language, the chip designates both the most hated and the most loved of things. The biting-sucking insect likes to snuggle up in the fur of dogs, cats, rats and humans. A tireless traveler and world champion in the high jump, he spreads irritations and illnesses as he travels.
Yet for millennia, parents have called their beloved baby girl “my chip,” and more recently the chip, in its semiconductor form, has become the most precious thing in the world. It is worth gold, or more precisely hundreds of billions of dollars.
We learned on Wednesday, March 15, that South Korea was going to launch a pharaonic plan of 442 billion dollars (412 billion euros) over three years to increase its lead in the field of electronic components. Very good news for Samsung, the world leader in memories, which plans to build a gigantic industrial chip manufacturing complex south of Seoul over twenty years to attract all the companies in the world to its territory.
“The economic war that started in semiconductors has spread to batteries and cars of the future. Every country is throwing in massive subsidies and tax cuts to build state-of-the-art factories on its soil”explained South Korean President Yoon Seok-youl.
In the name of sovereignty
The race to catch jumping fleas is therefore well underway. The Americans have drawn their specific law of 270 billion dollars in aid to convince manufacturers, including Samsung, to prefer its territory, while Europe and Japan are doing the same. State coffers are emptying to fill those of electronics engineers, in the name of sovereignty.
Not to mention the other hundreds of billions devoted to the development of renewable energies for the energy transition. This obviously raises many questions about the sustainability over time of such a collective debauchery of means.
The silicon chip is therefore much more expensive than its biological namesake, but like it, it weighs nothing and is easily hidden. As a result, we are now seeing the appearance of illicit trafficking. Like the sector set up by Artem Uss, the son of a governor of Siberia, arrested in October 2022 in Milan. In a few years, he would have set up a vast supply network for Russia in electronic chips in order to circumvent the embargoes, in particular since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.
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