After ASML, the entire Dutch chip sector is now asking the government for support

Dutch chip sector

This article was last updated on July 4, 2024

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After ASML, the entire Dutch chip sector is now asking the government for support

In the wake of ASML’s success when obtaining money for growth in the region, the entire chip sector is now trying to get on the radar of the new cabinet. While the new ministers are sitting in section K of the House of Representatives for the first time today, a letter about this appears in their mailbox. This has also been sent to MPs of a number of relevant parliamentary committees.

The parties have united in ChipNL, an interest group in which more than 30 companies participate. The letter was signed by, among others, the Almere chip machine maker ASM, chip manufacturers NXP and Nexperia, Philips and start-ups Axelera AI and Nearfield Instruments. ASML, the country’s largest company, has also added its name.

The chip companies are asking the Schoof cabinet to invest 100 to 150 million euros annually over the next six years. They also promise to contribute another 100 to 200 million euros from their own budget. This would yield a maximum amount of 2.1 billion euros.

If it is up to the companies, the money should be used to strengthen cooperation between the various parts of the Dutch chip sector. Roughly speaking, this concerns machines for making and packaging chips, designing and producing chips. This is a chain of all kinds of different companies.

Dutch competitive position

After the billion-dollar boost for ASML – worth 2.5 billion – the chip sector now wants money again. According to ASM’s financial CEO Paul Verhagen, this can be easily explained, he told NOS. “It has everything to do with the competitive position of the Netherlands and the chip industry within the Netherlands.”

Verhagen expects his company to double in size in the coming years, and this also applies to other companies in the sector. “And we are being attracted to in all kinds of countries. In countries where we are active, we get a nice hot shower. We are tempted to invest there. And if that happens to a lesser extent or not at all in the Netherlands, the chance is of course greater than a part of that growth goes abroad.”

“Many people ask why we need this money,” adds Núria Barceló Peiró of chip manufacturer NXP. “Some companies in this sector earn a lot. But there must be fair competition. And if that is not the case, because other regions do finance, we must do the same in the Netherlands. Otherwise it is very easy to go abroad .”

A threat?

When asked whether there are companies that are seriously considering looking abroad for growth, Verhagen emphasizes that the letter is not a threat, but should be seen as a ‘positive warning’. “We are in principle committed to the Netherlands, we are a Dutch company, we would like to work in the Netherlands, but we can only do that responsibly if we can do so competitively.” The question is whether The Hague reads this as a threat.

It seems that the companies want to tighten things up a bit, but are also afraid of going too sharp. Especially if many introductory appointments still need to be made in the near future. A straight leg does not help.

Political reporter Roel Bolsius:

“These kinds of things could have been funded from the National Growth Fund, but that was canceled by the new coalition in search of money. At the same time, the main lines agreement emphasizes the importance of a good business climate.

But what exactly the new cabinet will do in this area has yet to be elaborated in the government program. In any case, voices can be heard from the coalition that endorse the importance of money for research, but that this cannot only come from the government and that it is important that companies take their responsibility in this.

It is therefore not yet possible to say whether this specific call will also land. Especially because many corners of society are now calling on the new cabinet.”

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