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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has rightfully drawn criticism from around the globe, but what's less clear is the effect that punishing sanctions will have not just on the Russian economy, but the wider global economy. With the world still feeling the effects of the pandemic and supply shortages, will the sanctions have any impact on global chip supplies?
Of course, chips are made of more than just silicon. There are all kinds of materials needed at all stages of production. The removal of any of these rare materials can have a drastic impact on chip production. Thankfully, it seems as though semiconductor manufacturers anticipate that the conflict won’t result in any significant impact.
Taiwan based TSMC believes it won't encounter any serious supply issues. The Taiwanese government released a statement (via Reuters) following a meeting chaired by Vice Premier Shen Jong-chin, saying that raw materials including neon and C4F6 and palladium metal would not see much impact on domestic production as they can be sourced elsewhere and are already stockpiled.
Additionally, John Neuffer, chief executive and president of the Semiconductor Industry Association said: "The semiconductor industry has a diverse set of suppliers of key materials and gases, so we do not believe there are immediate supply disruption risks related to Russia and Ukraine".
According to a report by Bloomberg, Intel believes it won't experience any impact. “We do not anticipate any impact on our supply chain,” Intel said. “Our strategy of having a diverse, global supply chain minimizes our risk of potential local interruptions.”
Similarly, GlobalFoundries Inc doesn’t expect there to be any significant impact either. “At GlobalFoundries, we do not anticipate a direct risk,” the company said in a statement. “We are not totally immune to global shortages, but our footprint provides us with more insulation.”
As Ukraine itself reels from ongoing Russian aggression, wider economic concerns around problems such as inflation and energy security remain ongoing challenges. At least the hope is that for now, global chip production will continue more or less as normal.
In broader news, tech companies have begun restricting Russian access to technology and products in compliance with newly imposed international sanctions. The situation is very fluid and we can expect statements and specific details from individual companies over the coming days.