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The Big Take

The Global Fight Over Chips Is About to Get Even Worse

Sanctions are causing a shortage of microchips in Russia. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Europe are spending billions in a race with China that could easily backfire.

However dysfunctional it may look at the moment, the semiconductor supply chain is global and fully integrated. Unpicking it could carry great risks.

However dysfunctional it may look at the moment, the semiconductor supply chain is global and fully integrated. Unpicking it could carry great risks.

Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg

Magdeburg in former East Germany is famous for its towering gothic cathedral, and not a lot else. It’s now about to play a key role in U.S. and European efforts to tilt the global balance of power.

Intel Corp. unveiled plans on March 15 to build a giant, 17 billion-euro ($18.7 billion) factory making cutting-edge semiconductors in the city, adding to new plants in Arizona and Ohio the company announced over the past six months.