Intel has announced it will spend $20 billion on a new bleeding-edge chip manufacturing campus in Ohio, USA.
The 1,000-acre “mega-site” will house up to eight separate fabs and create roughly 3,000 permanent jobs, which would make it one of the largest chip manufacturing facilities in the world.
Intel says planning for the first two factories will begin with immediate effect, and expects ground to be broken later this year. Assuming there are no unexpected delays, chip production should begin in 2025.
Onshoring chip production
As the US looks to onshore larger portions of the semiconductor supply chain amid rising tensions with China (which claims ownership of Taiwan, home to market leader TSMC), the new Intel mega-facility will be of significant strategic importance.
And while the factories won’t go online for a number of years yet, the additional capacity created by the new campus will also help address the ever-rising demand for chips. According to figures from Gartner, the semiconductor industry was worth more than $500 billion in 2021, up 25% on the previous year.
“Today’s investment marks another significant way Intel is leading the effort to restore US semiconductor manufacturing leadership. Intel’s actions will help build a more resilient supply chain and ensure reliable access to advanced semiconductors for years to come,” said Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO.
“These factories will create a new epicenter for advanced chipmaking in the US that will bolster Intel’s domestic lab-to-fab pipeline and strengthen Ohio’s leadership in research and high tech.”
Intel has struggled in recent years to keep up with rivals TSMC and Samsung, suffering repeated delays to the launch of its 7nm manufacturing process and other setbacks. Meanwhile, TSMC is taking orders for advanced chips manufactured using 3nm technology, which will go into the next generation of laptops, computers, smartphones and more.
However, Intel says the new factories will help close the gap on its Asian competitors, by laying the foundations for the launch of its own new cutting-edge process nodes. The Ohio facility will also support demand among third-parties for Intel’s foundry services, as part of the firm’s IDM 2.0 plans.
“Intel is opening its factory doors wide to serve the needs of foundry customers around the globe, many of whom are looking for more geographical balance in the semiconductor supply chain,” added Dr. Randhir Thakur, who heads up Intel Foundry Services.
“The Ohio factories are designed for the ‘Angstrom era’, with support for Intel’s most advanced process technologies, including Intel 18A.”
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