Intel to invest $7 billion in US manufacturing

Three plants to be upgraded to 32nm processes to boost US manufacturing

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By  Mark Sutton Published  February 14, 2009

Intel has announced that it will invest $7 billion in advanced microprocessor manufacturing over the next two years.

The investment, which will be exclusive to the United States, will be used to update three existing manufacturing facilities to 32 nanometer processes. The move will support 7,000 highly skilled jobs in the US, Intel said.

Paul Otellini, president and CEO of Intel said: “We’re investing in America to keep Intel and our nation at the forefront of innovation. These manufacturing facilities will produce the most advanced computing technology in the world. The capabilities of our 32nm factories are truly extraordinary, and the chips they produce will become the basic building blocks of the digital world, generating economic returns far beyond our industry.”

Intel said that the investment will mainly be used to ramp up production of its forthcoming Westmere family of processors, which combine Intel’s Nehalem architecture with graphics capability integrated into the processor.

Last month Intel said that it was closing five older production plants , in Malaysia, the Philippines and the US, with the loss of up to 6,000 jobs.

While the investment was seen as a move to protect US manufacturing jobs, with US president Barack Obama calling Otellini to congratulate him on the move, analysts with Forrester and Gartner said that the investment would have to be made at some point to meet future demand for 32nm chips.

Analysts also pointed out that while jobs could have been moved to cheaper labour markets, the expertise in chip production, particularly in process control that is present in Intel’s US facilities would have been very expensive to transfer overseas.

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