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In brief: Intel is set to announce plans to build a $20 billion chip manufacturing complex in New Albany, on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio, as the company looks to lessen US reliance on foreign chipmakers while putting long-term strategies in place to combat the chip shortage.
The Columbus site, part of Intel's IDM 2.0 strategy, will initially consist of two chip factories on the 1,000-acre plot and directly employ 3,000 people. The New York Times writes that it will also create additional jobs in construction and nearby businesses.
Intel said construction on the site would begin this year, and the plant should be operational by 2025. The company has the option to expand to 2,000 acres and up to eight fabs. “Our expectation is that this becomes the largest silicon manufacturing location on the planet,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger told Time. “We helped to establish the Silicon Valley,” he said. “Now we’re going to do the Silicon Heartland.”
Gelsinger, who recently proclaimed AMD “is in the rearview mirror” following Alder Lake’s release, has long warned against relying too much on Taiwanese chip manufacturing (TSMC, specifically) in the face of increasing aggression from China in the region. "Beijing sent 27 warplanes to Taiwan's air defense identification zone [...] Does that make you feel more comfortable or less?" he said in December. The CEO has also called for the US government to spend the $52 billion it has set aside for semiconductor funding exclusively on domestic companies.
Intel plans to spend $25 billion to $28 billion on chip manufacturing in 2022 following a huge spending spree. The company broke ground on two advanced chip fabs in Arizona in September; it has invested $7 billion in a new manufacturing center in Malaysia; will invest $3.5 billion in New Mexico operations; and its $7 billion Fab 34 production facility in Ireland got its first equipment last week.
TSMC, which recently reported record profits, said it would spend $44 billion on upgrading capacity in 2022, more than Intel. The Taiwanese firm has reportedly raised customer quotes for its 7nm and 5nm processes for customers, which could see CPU and GPU prices rise, though Intel should be least affected given the company has its own fabs.
Intel confirmed the Ohio plant plans to Time ahead of its official announcement via a webcast taking place at 11:30 am PST today (Friday, January 21).