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Silicon, semiconductors, and our future

14 Dec, 2022

Silicon is an essential resource for technology. It is used to make semiconductors for mobile phones, computers, solar cells, and silicon wafers. Silicon wafers are what we call computer chips. This article focuses on pure silicon as a raw material, as well as the technology components made from it.

Pure silicon is a metalloid that is hard and dark gray with a metallic luster. It has the same microscopic structure as a diamond and shares many physical and chemical properties with it.

It is the second most abundant element on Earth, found in almost all rocks, soils, clays, and waterbodies. It is the biggest component of sand, which is plentiful, easy to mine, and comparatively simpler to process. This makes sand the primary source for extraction. Quartzite, sandstone that has been converted into a solid quartz rock, is another major source.

The essential nature of this element in our technology makes silicon import export data crucial in the present and future. Awareness about the channels of distribution and potential future opportunities can give an edge to any B2B trader in electronics. Subscribe to The Trade Vision for detailed information.

A brief history

Silicon was familiar to predynastic Egyptians who used it for beads and small vases. They also made glass containing silica, which is a natural compound of silicon combined with oxygen. Many other ancient civilizations including China made similar usage of the material. Its many naturally occurring compounds called silicates were also used in various kinds of mortar for construction. It was discovered by Jons Jacob Berzelius, a Swedish scientist, in 1824.

Silicon export analysis

There are many nodes on Silicon’s channels of distribution. From the sands and other raw materials to their pure form used in manufacturing. Countries like the US, Germany, and Japan have been experiencing a tech boom since 2010. A surplus of pure silicon imported to meet the high demand for semiconductors will lead to an increase in future exports. Malaysia is home to suppliers and semiconductor makers as well as global chip assembly testing factories. It accounts for a sizable portion of the world’s semiconductor trade. Taiwan is the world’s leading computer chip fabricator by country and produces a large number of semiconductors. Explore our free Silicon export data and subscribe for more detailed information,

Silicon top exporting countries (2020)

  1. United States ($828 million)
  2. Germany ($815 million)
  3. Japan ($315 million)
  4. Malaysia ($209 million)
  5. Chinese Taipei ($173 million)

Silicon import analysis

Back in 2017, China was the leading manufacturer of silicon-based products. Unexpected drops in demand and political factors led to a decrease in production. Now China largely depends on imports from Taiwan for their massive technological industries. Japan and Taiwan require pure silicon as raw materials for their vast computer chip industry. South Korea requires semiconductors for its gadget industry and Germany for their auto industry. Browse our free silicon import data and find more leads for your trading business.

Silicon top importing countries (2020)

  1. China ($942 million)
  2. Japan (576 million)
  3. Chinese Taipei ($252 million)
  4. South Korea ($227 million)
  5. Germany ($175 million)

Silicon: What’s in store?

Political friction between the United States and China has accumulated into an Economic trade conflict between the two. Dubbed ‘Chip Wars’, it is considered crucial to future global commerce. This conflict will vastly influence trade in this commodity. Recently the US placed trade restrictions on China for the trade of a type of computer chips. This was done in response to policy decisions by China against the US.

Overall demand for silicon is expected to rise over time as demand for specialized semiconductors skyrockets all over the world. Semiconductors are considered as important to the economy now as crude oil was a hundred years ago. Companies are looking for purer and more cost-effective ways to mine and extract silicon. As mining practices become more sustainable, the production of semiconductors will be key in the future.

The Trade Vision is a premier data provider and market intelligence company with decades of import-export experience. Access data on the go with our accessible and comprehensive data reports from over 100 countries.