The counterfeit chip market now exceeds $75 billion in global value, reports AllAboutCircuits blog which “massively incentivises” counterfeiters to cash in. They say this problem isn’t going away anytime soon, especially given the many complex dynamics at play.
“Sweeping demand for 200mm and 300mm wafers has officially outpaced supply as device makers scramble to procure both low-cost and highly advanced semiconductors for their products. COVID-related production halts and slowdowns have only worsened the situation. This predicament arrives in lockstep with the increased adoption of 5G, electric vehicles, and IoT devices. Gamers in the console and custom PC markets are also driving consumption.
“Because suppliers can’t reliably make factory-direct purchases, many have started exploring alternative avenues. This production vacuum has given exploitative fabricators opportunities to flourish.
“We’ve seen a growing “gray market” for semiconductors as a result. Numerous counterfeit chips threaten to infiltrate supply chains—as desperate companies hoping to bolster their component stores have turned to third-party marketplaces. We call this gray because while the purchase mechanisms are legal (unlike the black market), the chips sold are clearly misrepresented as genuine. False packaging, serialization, and hardware markings are designed to swindle buyers.”
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