UK Gov push for Wales Compound Semiconductor sector to go global

Leaders meet to discuss ways to capitalise on international opportunities

Today, the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales will gather with leaders from Wales’ own ‘Silicon Valley’ to discuss the progression of the country’s Compound Semiconductors industry. Pioneering and specialising in the tech device, Wales’ next milestone is pushing the technology out at a global scale.

Compound semiconductors, usually a solid chemical element, are used to control electrical currents. The semiconductor is made from two or more elements and can be found at the centre of the high-tech devices we know and love, such as GPS and smartphones. 

Compound semiconductors can store, transmit and detect data, emit and sense light, and generate microwaves – making it an integral part of all smart devices. The power amplifying tool has a host of properties that will support emerging technologies to operate efficiently.

The thriving Welsh industry is home to semiconductor experts IQE, SPTS Technologies, Microsemi, and Newport Wafer Fab. Together, they will form the world’s first Compound Semiconductor cluster, CS-Connected, along with academic partners and the UK Government’s £50 million compound semiconductor applications Catapult. 

The UK Government is set to host today’s meeting at the UK’s largest semiconductor centre – Newport Wafer Fab. The meeting will explore the Government’s role in taking the sector global, and industry experts will determine a strategy to capitalise on international opportunities.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said “If we want Wales to be at the vanguard of the high-tech revolution, we need to up our stakes – and our vision must be global.” This notion was reflected in the decision to invite HM Trade Commissioner for China, Richard Burn.

Cairns disclosed the next big steps for the compound semiconductor industry: “to seize those opportunities and to capitalise on the skills right here in South Wales that sets us apart. The UK Government wants to hear strong ideas today on how we develop this cluster and how we market the expertise we have in abundance on a global stage.”

Dr Drew Nelson, CEO of IQE was “delighted that the UK Government has recognised the importance of the sector” and added that “the full strategic support of the UK, Welsh and Local Governments, will be a critical enabler for the expansion of the cluster.”

This investment in tech is integral to the UK’s race to become a technological global leader, and the news comes amidst the UK’s plans to invest £24 billion in Advanced Analytics by 2020. The global semiconductor industry is worth a staggering $400 billion, and offers a huge opportunity for the UK if the Compound Semiconductors industry successfully goes global.