How the Russia-Ukraine War Could Impact the Semiconductor Industry


March 14, 2022

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As the world has learned over the last few years, silicon wafer processing relies on a delicate supply chain. An issue in one area of the world can have global ramifications on wafer production.

Russia and Ukraine aren’t the countries that typically come to mind when discussing semiconductor manufacturing, so you may be wondering if the current conflict could impact the industry. We’ll discuss what you need to know.

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Are Russia or Ukraine Major Semiconductor Manufacturers?

No, neither country is a major center for semiconductor manufacturing. Instead, the biggest manufacturers are:

  • China
  • Taiwan
  • U.S.
  • South Korea
  • Japan

Why the Conflict Could Still Cause Issues

While neither Russia nor Ukraine are major countries for semiconductor manufacturing, the conflict could still cause supply chain issues. The issue is that neon is an important part of the semiconductor manufacturing process. Specifically, it’s used to draw patterns on the wafers.

Ukraine is the biggest supplier of neon currently. In fact, it’s responsible for more than half of the world’s supply of neon. The war has already caused supply chain issues, since the neon can’t be produced normally, and it's harder for Ukrainian facilities to get the supplies they need.

Ukraine getting fully taken over by Russia would make things even worse, given the sanctions that have been put in place.

How Long Could This Issue Affect Semiconductor Production?

Market disruptions can lead to higher silicon wafer prices. Depending on how severe the neon shortage becomes, it could take anywhere from nine months to two years for the industry to fully compensate.

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