Feb 18, 2021 - Technology

Texas power outages force chipmakers to halt production

Texas surrounded by mysterious clouds.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Business is also feeling the bite from the Texas winter storm, with a number of chipmakers forced to suspend production.

Why it matters: Even a brief shutdown of chip production in Texas could exacerbate the global chip shortage that's already reducing production of everything from cars to computers.

Driving the news:

  • Samsung Semiconductor said it has "gradually halted its operations" in Austin after being ordered to do so by local power utilities.
  • NXP Semiconductor, which makes chips for cars, among other uses, has also halted production at two Austin-area plants at the insistence of local utilities.

What they're saying: Once power comes back, Samsung plans to resume production immediately, while NXP will do an impact assessment and determine when it can come fully back online, company representatives told Axios.

Meanwhile: The chip industry has been pushing Congress to fully fund federal investment in the U.S. chip industry that recent defense legislation authorized.

  • A variety of business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and auto and medical device trade associations, are signing onto a letter being sent today to President Biden to back this federal investment.
  • The U.S. once accounted for 37% of global chip production but has seen its share fall to 12% as of last year.

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