Intel hopes that the “largest chip production site on the planet” will allow the United States to regain control of this strategic market.
In a statement spotted by The Verge, Intel has announced the construction of a gigantic production site at 20 billion dollars near Columbus, in the eastern United States. This structure should employ more than 3000 people in two separate chip production factories; when completed by 2025, it should be the “largest production site [de puces] in the world”, according to CEO Pat Gelsinger interviewed by Time.
And this is just the start. Eventually, the site should siphon off an additional 80 billion. These funds will be used to set up 6 additional factories, spread over more than 8 square kilometres. Pharaonic figures that would make the site one of the lungs of the global technological ecosystem.
This is a direct response to the semiconductor shortage that continues to wreak havoc across the industry. Indeed, The Verge recalls that the latter highlighted the gradual relocation of this industry from other countries, especially Asian ones. We think in particular of TSMC; already very well established before, the Taiwanese was able to take advantage of the pandemic to strengthen its already enviable position. It now outrageously dominates its subject, and even plans to recruit several thousand people in 2022 – an evocative sign of its excellent economic health.
The price of technological sovereignty
This obviously constitutes a shortfall for American companies. But it’s not just a matter of supply and demand; it is also a problem of technological sovereignty and national security, two themes that Uncle Sam has always made absolute priorities. Unsurprisingly, this dynamic therefore worries the highest representatives of the American government.
Joe Biden intends to reverse the trend and cut short this dynamic, in order to regain control over this oh so strategic sector. And the American administration is giving itself the means to do so; it is currently discussing the allocation of a $52 billion grant to American cross-country skiers so that they can get back on track.
In any case, it is a date to be remembered; by the end of the decade, it will be interesting to look back to see if this gigantic factory will have had any impact on the level of the shortage of chips, but also on the technological balance of power between the United States and its competitors .