Newly minted Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger recommends his company to EU as partner for more local chip manufacturing. The EU wants to secure both strong digital sovereignty and the currently scarce supply of semiconductor components (such as from automotive companies) in the long term. A considerable part of the funds that are to help offset the consequences of the corona pandemic are therefore earmarked for the chip industry.
And that’s where Intel comes in: The U.S. manufacturer operates the only semiconductor production plant in the EU to date in Leixlip, Ireland, that can also manufacture 14-nanometer structures. Intel is also building this "fab" is currently undergoing a major expansion, presumably to accommodate the much coarser equipment for high-NA EUV lithography. Pat Gelsinger also wants Intel to be a contract manufacturer in the model "IDM 2.0" model.
Demands on the EU
Pat Gelsinger with Ponte Vecchio computing accelerator
Gelsinger to meet Thierry Breton, EU Internal Market Commissioner, on Friday. In a guest editorial for the Financial Times, Gelsinger expresses keen interest in expanding chip manufacturing in the EU. But he also makes clear demands for funding and an alliance between industry and governments.
"To take destiny in its own hands in the essential field of semiconductor technology, the EU must compete and cooperate against strong competition", says Gelsinger. "While some of the top semiconductor companies are based in the EU, the EU faces stiff competition from countries that consider semiconductor manufacturing a national priority. Many governments provide generous subsidies to attract semiconductor manufacturing facilities and require research and development."
Competition (not only) with the U.S. and Asia
Gelsinger travels on to Israel next week. Ireland is home to Intel’s largest and most advanced chip fabs outside the U.S. Israel also demands the settlement of chip fabs and IT companies.
The contract manufacturer Globalfoundries in Dresden, whose Arab owners are allegedly preparing a bankruptcy, also wants to use subsidies within the framework of the IPCEI Microelectronics II for an upgrade of the production capacity. Globalfoundries manufactures for European chip companies such as STMicroelectronics, NXP and Bosch, which develop many semiconductors for vehicles (automotive) and also aviation (aerospace).
The EU is also reportedly negotiating with other established chip contract manufacturers such as TSMC and Samsung. However, TSMC had recently dampened expectations in this regard. TSMC is initially planning huge investments of around $30 billion in the U.S., at Phoenix.