Intel plans to pump $20bn into the EU chip market

Get a free Techzine subscription!

Intel is going to invest at least 17 billion euros (20 billion dollars) in expanding or building new European chip factories. The company also expects the EU to pitch in by subsidizing a huge amount. The plan is to spread the investments across multiple EU countries.

Chipmaking powerhouse Intel has said they could spread the investment in their new $20bn European semiconductor factory across several EU member states. So says a new report in the Financial Times. Their statement comes as the US tech giant is trying to win European financial and political support for the project.

Pat Gelsinger, Intel’s chief executive, recently met French president Emmanuel Macron and Italian prime minister Mario Draghi. Their discussion centered around the global chip shortage that has hit industries around the world and especially in Europe.

Related: EU should pay Intel 8 billion euros for two chip factories

Gelsinger’s visit followed some definite signals signals from the EU. They have indicated they would make substantial sums available to help the bloc meet their new semiconductor industry target. Ultimately, the EU wants to double EU production and have 20 per cent of the global market by 2030.

Intel executives told FT that they have suggested there could be “EU-wide benefits” if the Europeans met Intel’s requirements. Intel would then spread the facilities and services to support chip production – and the economy – in multiple member states.

Funding a European “moon shot” in the field of chip production

Thierry Breton, Brussels commissioner for the single market and in charge of industrial strategy, has said Europe should aim eventually to produce the most advanced 2nm chips. However his ambition has raised concerns that Europe could be wasting money, given the high costs and complexities of producing advanced semiconductors. Intel could bring the type of expertise to make Breton’s plan more realistic.

“We are well placed to make this an ecosystem-wide project, not just a couple of isolated paths in one member state,” said Greg Slater, Intel VP of global regulatory affairs. “We do believe that this is a project that will benefit Europe at large.” 

As well as financial support, Intel is looking for a site of roughly 1,000 acres with developed infrastructure, which would be capable of supporting up to eight chip fabrication facilities, known as fabs, and which has access to talent. Intel has looked at countries including Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium to explore potential for a factory. They expect to make a decision by the end of the year.