Brazil launches $20m drive to boost local chip industry
Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation will allocate $20m in non-refundable subsidies to local chip firms as part of its Mais Inovação programme.
The so-called More Innovation - Semiconductors scheme is intended to stimulate development projects related to the design, manufacturing and testing of semiconductors. It is part of a wider industrial stimulation initiative, which has 11 subsidy notices for various sectors, worth a total of R$2.18 billion (USD 400 million).
At present, Brazil is a very minor player in the global semiconductor industry. Despite being the world’s sixth most populous nation, with more than 212 million people, and with a vast market for consumer electronics, it has a tiny local chip ecosystem.
Political instability hasn't helped. Brazil launched the state-owned chip manufacturer Ceitec in 2009, and it was expected to be privatised by the Jair Bolsonaro administration as part of his de-nationalisation programme. Instead, it was put into liquidation in 2020. The Lula administration later reversed this decision.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian government has been hedging its bets in terms of international cooperation. The country has close ties with the US, but President Lula still visited China to discuss inwards investment last year.