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Here's why the new $17B Samsung chip-making factory is crucial to consumers

The new factory aims to make chips more accessible to consumers and to meet surging demands.

TAYLOR, Texas — Cars, computers, refrigerators, LED bulbs -- if it's electric, chances are it's powered by semiconductor chips. But, in a shopping season where electronics are crucial, those chips are harder to come by.

Taylor, Texas was selected for a $17 billion investment in a new chip-making facility from Samsung, which aims to make chips more accessible to consumers and to meet surging demands.

Think of semiconductors like the brains of technology. They run computations and make sure everything is working as it should inside our tech. 

According to an analysis by Goldman Sachs, 169 industries are reeling from the semiconductor shortage in some way. 

The simple explanation is that demand is just higher than supply right now, prompting the global shortage. 

Here's how we got here

  • Demand for cars declined at the start of the pandemic, and automakers stopped buying chips.
  • Chip manufacturers went where the money was. Computers and mobile devices.
  • Since that's what we all relied on in our shift to the "at home" life. 
  • That ended up hitting the car industry hard because the demand for cars rebounded quicker than expected, and now automakers need those chips again. 
  • Chipmakers have dedicated their resources to consumer tech and it's no easy task pivoting back.

Some advanced semiconductors can take up to six months to make.

Now both industries are at an impasse because semiconductor manufactures can't meet either of their needs. It's a difficult shortage to overcome, but the U.S. is looking to have a bigger footprint in the chip manufacturing market. 

Texas is already home to some of the highest levels of chip output in the nation. 

And Gov. Greg Abbott is ensuring we stay at the forefront, by creating a semiconductor task force in October. Industry experts don't think it'll get much worse, but they say some of your favorite electronics may be hard to come by into next year... and maybe even 2023.