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Intel begins construction of $ 20 billion plants in Arizona as race for US chip factory heats up

Intel on Friday opened two new factories in Arizona as part of its plan to transform to become a major chip maker for external customers.

The $ 20 billion plant, dubbed Fab 52 and Fab 62, will bring Intel’s total factories at its Chandler, Arizona campus to six. They will house Intel’s most advanced chip technology and will play a central role in the Santa Clara, California-based company’s efforts to regain leadership in the smallest, fastest chip by 2025 after losing ground to a rival company. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.

The new factories in Arizona will also be the first Intel to build from scratch, with space reserved for external customers. Intel has been making its own chips for a long time, but its modernization plan requires hiring third-party developers like Qualcomm, Amazon.com’s cloud arm, and deepening manufacturing relationships with the US military.

“We want to improve the resilience of the supply chain,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, who attended a White House meeting on global chip shortages earlier this week, told Reuters in an interview. “As the only US company that can handle the most advanced lithography processes in the world, we are looking to make significant headway.”

Gelsinger said it was too early to say how much of the new plant’s capacity would be reserved for external customers. He said the factories would be producing “thousands” of waffles a week.

Plates are silicon disks on which microcircuits are manufactured, each of which can contain hundreds or even thousands of microcircuits.

Intel’s rival TSMC also acquired land to build its first U.S. campus in Phoenix, near Intel’s location where TSMC plans to build up to six chip factories, Reuters previously reported.

Gelsinger said Intel plans to announce another US campus by the end of the year, which will eventually house eight chip factories.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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