U.S. companies have for decades led the world in producing these tiny chips that power modern technologies. Our country’s leadership in semiconductors is a big reason America has the world’s largest economy and most advanced technologies.
The U.S. semiconductor industry has continued to maintain its global leadership position in semiconductor technologies essential for the future, including artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, and advanced wireless networks such as 5G. The U.S. semiconductor industry has also maintained its global market share leadership, even though worldwide year-over-year sales growth in 2019 was negative, and has kept steady its very high levels of investment in research and development (R&D) and capital expenditure (capex).
These industry investments have sustained U.S. leadership in semiconductor innovation. U.S. companies are leaders in 5G technology and have developed virtually all the advanced semiconductors relevant for AI and big data, which power everything from supercomputers to Internet data centers.
The U.S. industry, however, faces a range of challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the global economy and disrupted worldwide supply chains, causing significant near-term market uncertainty. The rising cost of innovation for semiconductor manufacturing and design, particularly at the leading edge, continues to pose challenges. Additionally, while the U.S. remains the global leader in semiconductor design and R&D, the lion’s share of chip manufacturing is now occurring in Asia. Finally, global geopolitical instability, especially regarding trade policy, is forcing the U.S. industry to consider how to remain competitive in a world of unforeseen uncertainty and policy constraints. The U.S. semiconductor industry relies on its deep global supply chains and access to overseas markets.
Overall, while the U.S. industry continues to lead the global industry, it also faces clear challenges as it seeks to maintain its leadership into the future.