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When the chips are down, globalisation hits a snag


When the chips are down, globalisation hits a snag

Nations are ending dependence on global supply networks beyond their control and moving towards trustworthy sources

Peter Apps

As experts examine the charred remains of Russian missiles that have slammed into Ukrainian blocks of flats and strategic sites, they report one frequent common detail: the carefully scored-out manufacturer names and codes on microchips, deliberately leaving their origin at least initially concealed.

Now more than 100 days old, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine both highlights and threatens what for the first part of the 21st century was a largely unquestioned path towards industrial, economic and supply chain globalisation — but which now faces stark and savage headwinds.

Already, the conflict has upended worldwide food and fuel supplies, seen the world’s most established firms quit Russia after Western sanctions, and Moscow and Nato states blame each other for a looming global food crisis. But it has also supercharged a growing global contest over the manufacture of the chips at the heart of modern technology...

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