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Europe will miss 2030 chip market goal, says ASML CEO

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd
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Europe will miss 2030 chip market goal, says ASML CEO

By Toby Sterling

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Europe will miss its goal of raising its share of the global computer chip market to 20% by 2030 because it is not building manufacturing capacity fast enough, semiconductor equipment maker ASML CEO Peter Wennink said.

“It’s totally unrealistic,” he said of the target set by the EU Commission amid shortages of chips for cars during the COVID-19 pandemic.

European share of the global computer chip market “is 8% at best,” the outgoing chief of Europe’s largest tech company said in an interview following ASML earnings on Wednesday. “If you want to get to 20%, you just have to calculate how much you need to build here.”

The European Union last year passed its 43 billion euro Chips Act, a subsidy programme similar to incentive packages in China, the United States, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

Among major chipmakers hoping to tap European subsidies, only TSMC has said it intends to break ground in 2024, on a 10-billion-euro plant in Dresden, Germany. Intel plans a 30-billion-euro facility in Magdeburg, Germany if European subsidies are approved.

European chipmakers Robert Bosch, Infineon and NXP will own 10% stakes in the TSMC project.

“That was good for the European car industry but it’s not enough,” said Wennink, who is retiring in April. “It’s not enough at all. Especially when you need to do the electric vehicle transition.”

OLD CHIPS

Wennink said that worries China is overinvesting in chip-making capacity are misplaced.

In the face of U.S.-led restrictions on exports of advanced computer chip technologies to China, its chipmakers are flocking to older technology to manufacture chips, including many used in electric cars and solar panels.

But Wennink said China, the world’s second biggest economy and largest industrial manufacturer, imports more semiconductors than oil, and it has nearly bottomless demand for those older chips.

“If you look at the Chinese electric vehicle industry, of all the EVs that are produced in China, only 10% of all the chips that are used come from domestic Chinese fabs,” he said.

European chipmakers should be looking to expand in both China and Europe, he said. Instead they are focused on ensuring their current European capacity is filled.

ASML equipment sales to China hit 6.3 billion euros ($6.9 billion) in 2023, or 29% of its total, compared to around 4% to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Global semiconductor sales are expected to grow from $600 billion this year to more than $1 trillion by 2030, and all capacity currently planned in China will be needed.

($1 = 0.9186 euros)

(This story has been corrected to say ‘billion,’ not ‘million,’ in paragraph 14)

(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)