The chips are down - The Agenda with Stephen Cole

One of the key industrial issues raised by the pandemic has been the worldwide shortage of semiconductors - the chips that now run much of our lives.

It has led to stoppages at many of the world's car manufacturers - Volvo, BMW, Volkswagen, Ford and Audi to name but a few, as well as worries from the likes of Apple that the supply of iPhones will be disrupted for some time to come.  

And while it is hoped that manufacturing will soon get back to something like normal, the pandemic has highlighted some real issues in the global supply chain.

So, on this edition of The Agenda, Stephen Cole examines what really happens when the chips are down.

Malcolm Penn, Founder and CEO of Future Horizons analysts has more than 50 years of experience in the semiconductor industry. He tells Cole why the current shortage is not really anything new – but highlights a major structural issue in the industry.

Jo Shien Ng, Professor of Semiconductor Devices at the University of Sheffield explains why there's no easy fix for the current shortage, and about concerns over long-term sustainability.

And with China, the U.S., the EU and others all announcing new plans to try to dominate the chips market, Professor Rana Mitter, Director of Oxford University's China Centre, explains why trade tensions could make semiconductors the next geopolitical flashpoint.

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