How COVID, Climate Change and Trump Created a Global Chip Shortage

A Huawei store in Beijing, May 20, 2019, (GDA photo by Lam Yik Fei via AP Images).
A Huawei store in Beijing, May 20, 2019, (GDA photo by Lam Yik Fei via AP Images).

Last week, Samsung announced that the rollout of its new Galaxy Note smartphone would be delayed, warning of a “serious imbalance” in the chip industry. It’s just the latest impact of a global shortage in the supply of semiconductor chips, caused by a unique combination of the coronavirus, climate change and Donald Trump. Semiconductors are the brains of all things electronic. Like the brain, they perform different functions—memory, processing—and range in sophistication from standard, repetitive routines to high-performance chips that can support machine learning, artificial intelligence and high-end graphics. All things electronic these days are pretty much all things chips. […]

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