Industry association SEMI Europe is warning the E.U. that as many as half a million jobs in the European semiconductor industry could be at risk if prompt action is not taken to bail out the industry.
Yesterday, SEMI presented a whitepaper to EU officials, including Viviane Reading, the European Commissioner for Information Society and Media. The paper states that the European semiconductor industry currently generates revenues of approximately €29 billion per year and that around 215,000 jobs are directly linked to the industry. The number grows steadily if you inlude suppliers and providers of various other service industries tied to the chipmakers' supply chain.
Apart from having a direct economic impact on the European economy, SEMI also points out that a slowdown in the chipmaking industry could have significant, long lasting consequences on innovation and competitiveness in a broad range of other industries, not directly linked to the semiconductor industry.
"If semiconductor manufacturers leave Europe, indigenous equipment and materials producers will face an uncertain future," said Franz Richter, chairman of the SEMI European Advisory Board. "The current economic crisis and rising unemployment underscore the urgent need to safeguard jobs in the European semiconductor industry."
The European share in the global chip market has slumped from 21 percent in 2001 to 16 percent in 2007, almost 25 percent over the course of 6 years, and the current economic crisis has the potential to further accelerate the downward trend.