Where do Our Electronics Come From?

For a long time, China has been synonymous with technology. Over half of the world’s mobile phones are made there and there are plans for the budding superpower to up its value when it comes to electronics manufacturing.

When 357 production facilities operated by Apple’s top 200 suppliers are based in China in comparison with 63 in America, it becomes clear that the country is at the heart of where we get our electronics from. But is this changing? And what is the current status of the electronics industry in Britain and America?

Where do the Raw Materials Come From?

Before we can look at the leading names in the world of electronics, it’s worth thinking about the raw materials that are used in the creation of the computers and other electronic devices we use.

Metals are the major conductor of electricity and there are several that make up electrical devices. Copper is the most frequently used as it’s a high conductor. Other metals you may come across include aluminium, lead and silver, and these are found in resistors and capacitors, making them crucial for key components.

Insulation of these metals is provided by plastics. Usually, you’ll find polystyrene and PVC used in capacitors and thermistors. Microchips, meanwhile, are made from minerals such as silicon.

Who Makes What?

According to the Annual Manufacturing Report 2018, there are over 800,000 direct jobs in Britain’s electronics businesses and an annual turnover of £78 billion, with companies such as XP Power contributing to these figures. In addition, when we are looking at production, the UK’s electronics industry is the world’s fifth largest electronics industry, making it a major player on a global scale.

In America, the electronics manufacturing services industry in 2018 is just ahead of the UK at $81 billion. There is predicted growth on this number for the country, but according to IPC, the association that connects electronics industries, this is only around 28% of the potential market share.

When we compare these numbers with the value of China’s electronic manufacturing services market, which was at $300 billion in 2017, the difference in numbers is dramatic. While Japan still has several companies in the top 10 electronics manufacturers in the world, it’s clear that China is leading the charge in terms of electronics output.

The Power Struggle

China’s reign of the world’s electronics industry is one of the reasons why there has been the beginnings of a trade war with America. With Bloomsberg Businessweek recently reporting Chinese agents had planed spy chips on circuit boards used by American firms and China

pushing ahead with its plans for Made in China 2025, there is a lot to look out for in the world of electronics in the coming months and years.