Media Moves

White House talks to chip makers about local factories

May 11, 2020

Posted by Irina Slav

The WHite House is in talks with American chipmakers to build local factories in order to strengthen self-sufficiency in the area.

Kanishka Singh reported the news for Reuters:

The Trump administration is in talks with semiconductor companies about building chip factories in the United States, representatives from two chipmakers said on Sunday.

Intel Corp (INTC.O) is in discussions with the United States Department of Defense over improving domestic sources for microelectronics and related technology, Intel spokesman William Moss said in an emailed statement.

“Intel is well positioned to work with the U.S. government to operate a U.S.-owned commercial foundry and supply a broad range of secure microelectronics”, the statement added.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) (2330.TW), on the other hand, has been in talks with the U.S. Department of Commerce about building a U.S. factory but said it has not made a final decision yet.

Catherine Shu from TechCrunch wrote:

Intel, TSMC and Samsung Electronics are able to make chips of 10-nanometers or lower, the fastest and most power-efficient chips currently on the market.

In an April 28 letter obtained by the WSJ, Intel CEO Bob Swan told Defense Department that the company is willing to build a commercial foundry in partnership with the Pentagon “given the uncertainty created by the current geopolitical situation.”

Intel already has U.S. operations that make chips for its own products, but the new factory would serve other companies as well. TSMC, a Taiwanese semiconductor contract manufacturer, would continue making chips for other companies (its customers include Qualcomm, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices).

Malcolm Owen from Apple Insider reported:

Intel VP of policy and technical affairs Greg Slater reportedly said Intel is “very serious about this,” with its plan involving the creation of a plant for advanced chips that are securely made for government use, as well as some other customers. “We think it’s a good opportunity,” said Slater, “the timing is better and the demand for this is greater than it has been in the past, even from the commercial side.”

For TSMC, it has allegedly been in talks with officials in the Commerce and Defense departments, along with major client Apple, about potentially building a factory in the United States. While it would have similar aims as Intel for government and military chip production, the inclusion of Apple would seemingly suggest somewhere down the line TSMC believes the iPhone maker may want to use its regional facility.

“We are actively evaluating all the suitable locations, including in the U.S., but there is no concrete plan yet,” a statement from TSMC about new facilities reads.


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