Abstract: The semiconductor industry demonstrates a challenge to globalization, a concept that dominated strategy in manufacturing since the early 1990s. In 2023 the semiconductor industries in Asia, the USA, and Europe were facing large-scale supply shortages and long-term competitive changes. The semiconductor industry had grown to be a truly global industry since its beginnings in the 1960s supplying computer chips, core components for computing, consumer electronics, manufacturing, and service industries. Semiconductor manufacturing was dominated by very large manufacturers in Taiwan, China, Korea, and the USA. Global supply sourcing had worked well as demand expanded in the 1990s and early 2000s. But by 2022, coinciding with the Covid-19 global pandemic, the industry faced internal and external challenges. Competing models of computer chip production had emerged and at the same time, the security of global supply had become an issue. Geopolitical tensions and logistical concerns had led governments and businesses worldwide to wonder whether re-localizing the global semiconductor industry to assure domestic competitiveness and long-term supply independence would be a better solution. This paper presents a basis for assessing the feasibility of re-localization.
Keywords: semiconductor, high-technology, globalization and deglobalization, competitiveness, geopolitical issues
Janet Tan, corresponding author, San Jose State University, San Jose, California, USA, janet.tan (at) sjsu.edu
Ken Charman, CamEd Business School, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Mike Domenghino, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, Basel, Switzerland
Author note: All authors are equal co-authors. They have no known conflict of interest to disclose.