Intel has announced plans to invest tens of billions of dollars into semiconductor manufacturing projects across Europe.
During a webcast attended by TechRadar Pro, company CEO Pat Gelsinger revealed plans to invest €80 billion ($88 billion) in Europe over the next decade in an attempt to cultivate a “next-generation chip ecosystem”.
Although Intel will work on a litany of projects across a number of countries, the most significant pledge was perhaps a €17 billion ($18.5 billion) investment in a new manufacturing “mega-site” in Germany.
Nicknamed Silicon Junction, the facility will house two new fabs capable of producing top-tier chips for both Intel itself and customers of Intel Foundry Services (IFS). Gelsinger says he hopes to be able to break ground in early 2023 and fire up the engines by 2027.
Intel on the continent
Currently, the lion’s share of semiconductor manufacturing takes place in the APAC region, where companies like TSMC and Samsung are based.
In light of the ongoing chip shortage and rising tensions with China, the United States is investing heavily in ramping up its own production capacity, with a large helping hand from Intel.
Earlier in the year, for example, Intel announced it would splash $20 billion on a new state-of-the-art chip factory in Oregon, US. The 1,000-acre site will house up to eight separate fabs once complete.
But with this latest round of investments, Intel will seek to turn Europe into a competitive player too, in support of the European Commission's ambitions to onshore 20% of the semiconductor supply chain by 2030, as set out in the European Chips Act.
“The recent chip shortage has reminded us of the risk of being too dependent on any one region in the short-term,” said Gelsinger. “Our landmark pan-European investment addresses the global need for a more balanced and resilient supply chain.”
“This broad initiative will boost Europe’s R&D innovation and bring leading-edge manufacturing to the region for the benefit of our customers and partners around the world. We are committed to playing an essential role in shaping Europe’s digital future for decades to come.”
In addition to the manufacturing hub in Germany, Gelsinger announced a further €12 billion ($13.2 billion) investment in its facility in Ireland, which will double in size and bring Intel 4 (the new name for the firm’s 7-nanometer process) to Europe for the first time.
Intel will also establish a new R&D hub in France, which will become the company’s European headquarters for research in high-performance computing (HPC) and AI, creating an estimated 1,000 additional high-tech jobs.
Lastly, the company laid out plans to utilize the expertise it will gain from the acquisition of Tower Semiconductor with a new “state of the art back-end manufacturing facility” in Italy.
“This is a special moment for Intel and Europe,” Gelsinger added. “We hope these investments are a magnet for engineers, technicians, innovators, entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses as we collectively solve the hard challenges of the digital age.”
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