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What you need to know

  • A global shortage of chips has hurt many industries, ranging from automobile makers to phone manufacturers.
  • Companies across these industries are trying to score each other's chip supplies, causing friction.
  • The U.S. government has been holding meetings with leaders in these sectors to see what the situation is and what, if any, amicable solutions are possible.

As the coronavirus' Delta variant rampages through Southeast Asia, causing chip factories in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia to delay production or intermittently shut down, companies across many industries are facing production pipeline problems.

According to The Washington Post, companies in entirely separate sectors are at each other's throats. Automakers want the chip supplies and resources that are currently going to smartphone companies, while smartphone companies argue that automakers can suffer for all they care and that it's not the smartphone industry's problem that automakers didn't plan accordingly for the coronavirus-stricken landscape.

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"It's on industry to come up with the solutions here and to identify some of the path forward," said a Biden administration official about the situation, in the leadup to the Thursday (September 23, 2021) meeting between the White House and various industry leaders.

That's a general overview of the macro situation. On a micro level, the Kansas City Business Journal has an illustration of the immediate impacts of the chip shortage: Ford's and GM's Kansas-based auto assembly plants have seen sporadic shutdowns during 2021. Combined, these shutdowns affect nearly 10,000 employees directly as well as those at companies depending on Ford and GM.

That same report says the global automotive industry is primed to lose revenue to the tune of $210 billion in 2021 because of the shortage. The large figure is one example of how the chip shortage is affecting things beyond the availability of the best graphics cards, which are also being hurt by supply constraints.

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