答：首先，欧洲的工业对半导体的依赖程度不如美国和亚洲，因为欧洲更加注重传统工程领域的制造，比如汽车工业、高端机械制造等。从消费和需求的角度来看，欧洲对高端芯片的需求相对较少，当然仍然存在需求，但量不多。这也反映在欧洲的半导体公司市场上。它们是高度专业化的。首先，有大量的研发工作，在这方面欧洲做得很好。比如比利时的微电子研究中心（Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre, IMEC）就是一个非常高端的研究中心。但我认为让欧洲脱颖而出的实际上是一家公司。
建立集群对于芯片行业的发展至关重要，特别是从欧洲的角度来看。类似“欧洲地平线”（ Horizon Europe）的资助计划支持创建商业模式或市场，也支持大学的研究。我认为这非常关键。在欧洲，一个问题是需要进行大量研究，以建立真正能够占据重要市场份额的初创公司，这仍然很困难，还需要做更多的工作。
问：欧洲芯片法案希望能在 2030 年将欧盟在半导体制造领域的全球市场份额从 9%~10% 提升至至少 20%，您认为这可行么？
Q：What makes the chip market in the EU region special compared to the rest of the world?
A：Yeah, so first of all, Europe's industry relies less on semiconductors than the US and Asia, because where there's more engineering of the old that type kind of industry, manufacturing of high-end machines and things like that, so in general, also already from a consumption perspective, from a demand perspective, there's less demand for high end chips in Europe, of course it is, but it is less. And that also reflects what we see in the market of semiconductors companies in Europe. They are highly specialized. So, you have, first of all, I mean there's a lot of R and D, so there's a lot of research being done. Europe is good at that. You have this IMEC in Belgium that the research center that is very high end. But I think the biggest sort of standout factor for Europe is basically concentrated in one company.
And that's the Dutch company, ASML that produces as a virtual monopoly, you could say, on high end chip manufacturing machines, that is where Europe is really sticking out. There are other companies like，But also, when it comes to optics and to laser and things like that, you have Zeiss in Germany have tons. These are highly specialized industrial companies that provide parts of the equipment that you need for producing chips. But there is little of actual foundry. So the production of chips, if you want to divide the process of chip production in three ways. And you get the design, which is also not a lot of that in Europe. The sort of high-end design is very American focused. Then the production, which is in East Asia, mainly in Taiwan and south Korea, especially when it comes to the high end of the leaders. And there's nothing comparable in Europe.
Of course, the assembly is also something that's not much. It's a highly specialized set of companies that Europe has. And it's also one more thing I should add. The semiconductors that are produced in Europe tend to be the ones that you use in cars and in machinery and not the ones using computers so much. It is what you call trailing edge chips that is used for in industrial and ultimate motive applications. They tend to have a lower complexity than the ones that I use, for example, for an iPhone or something like that.
Q:Can you introduce the development of European semiconductor industry, education and research in combination with the direction of European industrial clusters?
A:I mean that the Eindhoven is one of the biggest clusters, and I mean it's all built around more or less about ASML and the production machine development. You said there are some foundries as well like NXP, I take it they are very specialized. I think this is the top cluster in Europe, of course. IMEC in Belgium, it's Eindhoven and it's not far away either. It's really one big ecosystem there. I guess what the Germans are trying to do in Magdeburg is a bit similar you have.
But then you also have the optics, clusters and the ring gear, for example, with size and card size and so on. You have Tom which is in Bond written back. Yeah, I mean there is a lot of these companies that and it is a good ecosystem for sure absolutely, and they rely on research institutions and universities that are involved. It's a very the tightly-knit environment. That's for sure. Yeah, I think there's definitely potential to sort of branch out of these clusters a little bit.
The thing is, if you want to go into something completely new by building like what's happening Magdeburg that building foundries of that size, then you stepping out of the cluster quite a bit already, but I mean I’m not saying that it's impossible to build the links they are there, but it's a bit less of the organic approach than, as you said, for example, ASML grew out of Phillips. It is a very organic development there.
But I mean building clusters is decisive for building chips industry for sure, from the European, from the European level, I mean there's Horizon Europe funding which supports the creating business models or market for, also for research that comes out of universities. And I think that's very key. In Europe, one of the problems is that there is a lot of good research to make, to build startups that can then actually conquer a large amount of market share. That's difficult still. That's, I guess, also where more needs to be done.
Q:Why did Europe lack investment support for semiconductor companies for a long time before the European Chip Act?
A:Yeah, I mean there are two reasons for that, public and private finance, and starting by private finance, Europe is the, EU is a collection of different states, 27 of them. And they all have their individual financial industry. And there is not a European market for financial services. They are different rules when it comes to insolvency tax and so on in all of these countries. That's why there is no integration between financial markets. Integration is what makes financial markets deep and makes them deep enough to finance chips, because chips production is highly capital incentive.
If you want to build up a new fab, it's 10 billion or something at least. So, you need huge amounts of financing, in the private financing environment in Europe doesn't deliver that kind of finance. If you look at, for example, venture capital funds that can get you of more than 1 billion, you have, maybe like 15 in Europe and the US have 120 or something.
This is a big problem. What the EU is trying to do is to build a common financial markets union, but this is going ahead very slowly. You have, because it touches upon very fundamental, legal tradition that you have. And in the different member states, when it comes to tax, when it comes to insolvency, when it comes to all sorts of other things. But it's basically the problem here that we don't have an integrated financial market. China is huge, US is huge, you have huge financial markets all under the same legislation, and Europe doesn't have that. If when we look at the public financing, we see something similar in a way. I mean first of all, Europe has been, in Europe, the work of industrial policy has been, has had a very negative ring to it over the past 30 years or so.
The Maastricht Treaty which led to the Europe, but also introduced strict rules on how much that member states can make. They basically were built on the idea that the European economy will be competitive and will rule through the market and not for industrial policy. Because if you have, basically, what happened is that you have these debt ceilings of the 60%,3% limited deficit spending for individual member states that doesn't allow those member states to make huge investments. So, basically by law, industrial policy more or less was forbidden by member states. It had very strong competition law as well. The legal infrastructure was tilted against industrial policy. And on the member state level, I mean at the same time, nothing was built on the EU level. on the EU level, to replace that lack of the industrial policy on the member state level. So, there is no big European fund that invests in things.
Now there is more and more of it, but it's nothing compared to the size of what the US and China are doing. I mean better than I do, but I mean China has taken an approach of developing infant industries, protecting them, subsidizing them. And so on. This is something Europe hasn't really done in the past 30 years or so. The US when it comes to chip industry, have always seen it as a strategic industry. They've invested a lot for the dark party in their development, strategic investment or development agency. They have they've done a lot there. And this is something you're blacks. And that's also why my think tank, my institution, we're in favor of building a European sovereignty fund that can then provide a more investment in strategic industries on a European level.
So that would be that and the development of private, the European financial markets. This should be done to alleviate that. Because as it stands now, there are too many barriers for sufficient financing.
Q:What do you think may be the biggest challenge facing the European Chip Act?
A:I mean the European Chips Act, it has very ambitious goals, right? So, it aims to increase the market share of European production to 20% from currently 9%, which would involve quadrupling basically the production figures, but also the workforce that this is very highly specialized workforce, which brings me to one of the biggest challenges.
I think building that workforce will not be easy. Europe is suffering from a shortage of specialized labor in many sectors. There are not enough workers also in green industry and a lot of other strategic areas. In chips industry, the level of expertise you need to develop is even higher often. I could imagine that is a bottleneck. Then I think initial is because now the US wants to build more fabs, wants to build up manufacturing capacity. One of the reasons are considerations of strategic autonomy, which it makes sense, but the problem is that there is not that much manufacturing of chips going on at the moment.
So the expertise in that first needs to be further developed. What we see now is that there's many foreign companies that are invited to come over like Intel in Germany who invested to something like 17 billion. And the German state is putting another up around 10 billion as well. So, this is, on the one hand, I think in the long run, this is probably, you know that can help to develop expertise also in Europe to invite these foreign experts companies in. But it's not the same as if you build your own industry, especially when the idea is to increase strategic autonomy.
The issue with this chips act is that with any industrial policy program, there are certain things that can go wrong when it comes to planning of a production or planning an ecosystem, that if you believe on the drawing board, so for example, how to evaluate properly demand and supply, The chips industry in the past 50 years has been famous for having a moment of gluts of chips production where then there was too much supply. And I mean even in the private sector, a lot of adventures had to go, were going bust, went bust, and something like that, of course, can happen in Europe too, especially considering the very high competition that exists from Asia.I think it's just very hard to match that.
And then also to build the chips in a way that they are cost-effective, that they are competitive on the market. In Europe at the moment has problems with high energy prices. And that also makes them less competitive. So, I think these are all things to consider. I believe, while there is a case to be made to build chips in Europe just for strategic autonomy reasons, I think it probably would also make sense to focus on the more upstream parts of the chips production process, meaning on design and research.
At the same time, building stronger trade links with those countries that focus on production.We will see what happens, but I think these are some of the considerations when it comes to the chips act and what could go? where the threats could be to make this a successful program? And maybe one more thing I should mention as well, the chips act year marks 11 billion on EU level financing, but it hopes to mobilize a lot of private financing as well. And it really relies on state aid. And state aid means that member states of the European union allowed to, in particular, allowed to sort of circumvent the old idea of that industrial policy should not be made by member states, but that they can invest more in directly.
So like Germany is doing right now with the chips factory in Magdeburg. But that has also the issue that richer member states of the European union have much more capacity, the capacities to do so than then those who are don't have the same resources and those who are already highly indebted. So that can create imbalances within Europe, and it can endanger the single market where you the single markets ideas that you have a level playing field where competition is just an equal and disrupting that is a very dangerous move, because the single market at the same time is one of the biggest assets that Europe has, because it is a market of 400 million people and being able to compete there on a level playing field. It really creates the kind of efficiencies and the economies of scale. And that are important to build successful companies. So, the problem here is going back to financing that it should not rely too much on state aid. And if it does, then you have these kinds of issues that I just mentioned.
Q:The European chip act hopes to increase the US global market share in semiconductor manufacturing from 9%, 10% to at least 20% in 2030, you have already mentioned. Do you think is that is this feasible?
A:I think it's going to be challenging. I mean it's going to be challenging, and I think it's a goal that's out there. But if we reach it or not, that it's very hard to say. It really also depends on how well the initiatives work that chips act is pushing ahead, how much private finance will actually jump on that? How much because the public financing now is I mean from the EU level, it's just 11 billion, and member states, they can dish out more money. But and then the remains to be seen how well these new industries or new fabs actually work? How well they integrate into the market? Are they able to become profitable quickly? Or do they have to rely on more subsidies? All these kinds of things play into that. And I mean the semiconductor market is, I guess, one of the most unpredictable markets out there because it's so complex. And there's so many choke points. But also, when it comes to the development of technology, it's sometimes quite unpredictable, yourself or the Japanese used to have the commanding position in the 80s. And then they are sort of like, they didn't bet on the on the personal computer chips and then lost their position again. So, things can happen. We don't know. my estimation is that it's a very ambitious goal. It's not impossible, but it will be difficult.
Q:For what reasons is Europe lack of cutting-edge chip designs? Is it necessary to build a more full-fledged fabless ecosystem in Europe?
A:Yeah, I mean that's also an issue, that if you build these cutting-edge chips, foundries, and then you don't have the demand. As I said at the beginning, the European industry, it doesn't have a lot of Apple and Sony and things like that need these very high high-end chips, even though technological development is advancing, and even the car industry will need more and more of that and other industries that are big in Europe. But I think it comes back to the something I said at the beginning that currently what's being produced in Europe is more than a bit less complex chips that are being used for the car industry or other industrial applications. It's like this trailing edge chips basically.
I think the main issue really is that of strategic autonomy that you say, we are depending so much on others for something as vital as these chips. And course, they are needed even the high end once I’m just saying the market is maybe not as big as it isn't in some other countries, but they needed.
And you don't want to, I think the Covid crisis really demonstrated that there's a lot of vulnerabilities, supply chains are being disrupted. That is why if you want to build up your own capacity quickly, then it also makes sense to invite companies from other countries. As they would say, sort of allied countries that can build this on I level. So I think that's the reasoning behind that.
I think that to be honest, I think that's a very interesting market segment also for Europe because of Europe’s strength and R and D and a very qualified workforce and so on. And this is really also one of the segments of the market that makes one of the highest profit margins, right?
I believe that there is definitely a case to be made to invest more in that. I think it would be the economically from the economic environment, from the ecosystem Europe, it would be the most and the most sensible step to do, I think, if you want to branch out from what is already there, it's easier. I mean I’m not saying easier because it's a highly complex industry as well. But it might be closer to Europe strength than building up fabs, which it's something that has never really played a very big role in Europe.
Q:There are voices that the European chip x plays too much emphasis on the attracting the foreign big chip makers, such as Intel and TSMC. Instead of frustrating the local startups, do you believe this criticism have a point?
A:I believe that you need to do both, because if we want to be serious about strategic autonomy, we need to build up a manufacturing capacity and that needs to be done quickly, right? It's not something that you can. And that's the easiest way to do that is by inviting foreigners. It's because they have the expertise. I think it's as simple as that. But at the same time, I do believe that we should also support the European startups, but again, you need to choose, if you do industrial policy, you can't do it in a way that you just support any everything, you need to set priorities. These priorities, I mean there's a certain if it comes to the chips that Europe is already good at the that I mentioned before for the trailing edge chips and so on.
And I think it makes sense to also have more manufacturing there, because that is exactly what the supply chain disruptions during Covid, and even now still affected very badly the car industry, for example. So, maybe focus on that a bit more, but it really needs to be focused. That's the whole point. And just trying to build up the entire value chain in Europe, I mean that would be a fantasy to say that it's possible, especially it's one of the most complex industries in the world. It's something, if you look at the Taiwan, how long the over the past 30 years or 40 years, they build up their expertise. And it's so hard to replicate as the same with ASML, I mean you can't just go, and I yeah, I guess it's the case where China, for example, would like to have more of that technology. But it's hard to build that from scratch.
So if you can rely on open markets and I think to a certain extent, I mean we can, it depends now with a more tense geopolitical environment that you want to make sure that your partners are reliable. But in general, I think there's the potential to still rely on that. So that's why you should still start from the idea, somehow that you should focus on what you are best at, because otherwise you won't be competitive.
Q:How should the European Chip Act sustainably stimulate the development of the local semiconductor industry?
A:I mean the thing is now we are living in a world where subsidies are becoming more and more the norm. If you want to compete with the big players like US and China, you won't be coming getting around using more subsidies. It's absolutely clear. I think, and especially if you want to have more strategic autonomy in a more confrontational geopolitical environment. But I think that's why, as I said before, I think you should at the same time, try to focus on what you already good at. It's a mix of industrial policy and trade policy.
So, where you can, where you are quite far behind or where you don't have much expertise. And that is parts of the chips value chain. Definitely, I would consider to be falling under that label, then it might make sense to rely more on trade policy and work together with trusted partners. So, but I mean at the same time looking at mark the board and so on. I mean there's a lot of criticism of that in Germany, because of, I don't know how many million euros cities per employer, an employee that has been invested there. It sounds crazy, but at the same time, if you want to be serious about a certain degree, at least of like a strategic autonomy, then that's what you need to do.
And then you need to be able to say how much is that worth to you. You know, for example, look at how bad the German economy is coping with the high energy prices, if they had not outsourced the entire energy to Russia, they would be in a better position now, so you could say, maybe now it's expensive, but later on it might actually turn out to be the right position. So, my whole take is, yes, it might involve a lot of subsidies. But I think to a certain level, it's justified. You just shouldn't overdo it so to say I mean, if there is no point in building up entire industries from scratch to replicate things that exist elsewhere, it's just about having like a certain level.
And I think that's what the court commission also tries to do. They say 20%, I mean 20% of the market is not, there won't be enough to completely deliver everything Europe needs in terms of chips. In case, there is a geopolitical crisis. But it will make the fall. And they come down a little bit softer if things are going badly. So, I think it's really a matter of weighing different pros and cons and then arriving at a sort of reasonable a compromise. And I think that's also what the commission is trying to do.
Q:okay, my next question you have mentioned before, because currently in America, quite a few economic agencies join the network to institutions, to help build a semiconductor workforce. What's your opinion on this training problem? Do you have the same plan or already have the better plan regarding to semiconductor workforce building?
A:I think this is a very good initiative, because in the end of the day, when it comes to semiconductor, it's all about highly specialized expertise. And I think it's great, but I think Europe is not in the position to do something similar right now. Because it's very much when it comes to education, there's a lot being still done by member states. So, you would have to create European initiatives for skills and their European. The commission has some initiatives there. But there is much less the commission can do to really to push that ahead, because the member states are largely empowered to do that themselves. So, you will have more like a German sort of push for it. Also, there's how many different languages there in Europe, but it's just harder to build like a common training program and very different academic traditions and research traditions too.
So, I think it's great what the US are doing. Now the Belgian the Belgian research center, IMEC, I think it's called, I mean that's already there are some great initiatives for sure. But I also see the limitations that Europe has in this respect and I think more needs to be done to really bundle initiatives there. And, but I see it's harder to get this through than, let's say, if the US or China are doing.
Q:Do you think the crisis response toolbox (such as export authorizations and Priority-rated orders) will contribute to the resilience / rɪˈzɪliəns / of the global semiconductor industry?
A:I think this is really that the third chapter is really about emergency situations. It's not something that will be easily applied. And I think the commission is also, they're very clear about that. Nevertheless, in the industry, it causes concern because, yeah, as you say, there could be a reciprocal reply response from other countries. If you, because I mean what they are basically doing is saying that those foundries that have benefited from your subsidies, they need to then supply EU industries first, and then also that's amounting to export controls. And then the joint procurement of chips by the commission.
But I think the main issue is about the export controls. And I think the problem here is that other countries,they would do exactly the same. The thing is they don't write that into their laws. If you write laws, then you create expectations. And I think that makes it so controversial. The problem here is that the EU is like a collection of states. And if you don't write something in law, its member states will have different interests once the crisis comes. And then it will be hard to move ahead. So that's why they do that. But I think in general, this is nothing super special. I think every country would act in that way. The whole problem is that it creates insecurity or some sort of expectations that some countries that you will be cut off from supply from elsewhere.
I think that's the problem with it. I do understand why they put this in place. I think something like that ideally would be done more a, more a talk when a crisis hits. But again, having these 27 states, it's very hard, so I think in that respect, yeah, I think there is a justification for an instrument like that.