At the end of April, Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger was already visiting Europe to negotiate the construction of a plant that would be able to supply local customers with custom-made components. Intel management will have to choose a place for construction by the end of this year, but for now the head of the company continues to discuss the project with top officials of states and major clients.
Gelsinger recently made another visit to Europe, and the Financial Times reports that as part of this trip, he met with French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. The latter, he argued, that microprocessors will soon become much more important than oil, as they are used in everything from phones to toasters. By the end of the decade, Europe should double the production of semiconductor components on its territory, and Intel is ready to take an active part in this.
According to Gelsinger, quoted by la Reppublica, if the location of oil reserves on Earth was determined by God, then it is within the power of man to locate enterprises for the production of chips, and this is a very important type of resource for modern civilization. Intel is currently considering Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Belgium as possible sites for the construction of a new enterprise. The main requirement, in addition to the availability of a free plot of land with an area of 405 hectares, is the availability of the necessary engineering infrastructure and access to qualified labor. Starting with two factories, Intel could eventually expand to eight, with an initial budget of $ 20 billion over the next decade could grow to $ 100 billion.
Intel is now trying to figure out exactly what local customers are interested in. The management of the processor giant believes that it will be difficult for Europeans to compete with Asian manufacturers without government subsidies, but the costs can be borne together, dividing them not only between large companies, but also between states. By joint efforts, it is possible to carry out not only development and research, but also the manufacture of the final product. Silicon wafers can be processed in one country and become ready-to-use chips in another. Now this is happening, it is just that the indicated links of the technological chain are better placed in Europe, according to Intel representatives.
In Europe itself, such initiatives are now provoking fierce discussions. While some officials urge by the end of the decade to master the production of 2nm components and occupy up to 20% of the world market in terms of chip production, others are cautious about the feasibility of such a leap. Local market participants generally doubt that they need advanced lithography within the framework of local production. Many are ready to be content with mature technical processes, subject to budget savings.
For its own needs, Intel will continue to develop a manufacturing facility in Ireland. $ 7 billion will be invested in doubling its productivity, and in a few years the production of 7nm products will be launched here. The company also has leading enterprises outside the United States in Israel, but Intel will soon transfer the Chinese factory for the production of solid-state memory to the South Korean company SK hynix.