Spain's government approved Tuesday a plan to spend 12 billion euros in the semiconductor and microchip sector amid persistent worldwide shortage of the devices that has disrupted the electronics and automotive industries.
The goal of the program financed mostly with European Union Covid-19 relief funds is for Spain "to become a key player in the global semiconductor value chain," Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted.
"We aim to create a solid ecosystem for the future of computing in Europe and attract large investments in the semiconductors industry," he added.
Sanchez met with the heads of chip makers Intel and Qualcomm on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum being held at the Swiss resort of Davos to discuss the plan.
The program will fund research and development, support Spanish firms in strategic projects, finance start-ups as well as domestic semiconductor production capacity.
It will cover "the entire value chain from design to chip manufacturing," Economy Minister Nadia Calvino told a news conference after a weekly cabinet meeting that approved the plan.
"The aim is to comprehensively develop the design and production capacities of the Spanish microelectronics and semiconductor industry," she added.
Mainly made in Asia, semiconductors and microchips are needed to make a wide range of products from cars to washing machines to smartphones.
An unexpected surge in demand due to expanding digitalization and supply change problems caused by the pandemic has created a global shortage of semiconductors and microchips.
The shortage has slowed manufacturing activity, with automakers pausing production and electronic device makers struggling to keep up with demand for phones, TVs and gaming consoles.
The European Union in February unveiled a 43-billion-euro plan to quadruple the supply of semiconductors in Europe by 2030 and reduce its dependence on Asia for the key component.
The aim of the plan is to double its current semiconductor market share to 20% in 2030.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2022