Biden calls Intel’s plan to build $20 billion chip factories in Ohio a ‘game changer’
Intel announced it would spend $20 billion on two new semiconductor factories in Ohio. The company says factories won’t be ready to start manufacturing chips until 2025, so the news unfortunately won’t relieve us of the chip shortage that’s making PC gaming so difficult right now (which Intel says, will continue until next year), but this could be the start of a long-term shift in chipmaking. Along with the announcement, President Biden talks about his administration’s efforts to alleviate the global shortage of semiconductors by increasing production in the United States.
“It’s a game-changer,” Biden said in a White House speech on Friday, where he repeatedly mentioned the massive effect the shortages had on automakers (but not the effect they had). on PC gamers, if you can believe it). Biden praised Intel for spending a lot of money on a US-based factory. Samsung and Micron pledged to do the same last year.
Biden — along with major computer companies including Intel, AMD and Nvidia — have been pushing Congress to fund the CHIPS Act, which would earmark $52 billion for domestic semiconductor production. The CHIPS Act was approved via the National Defense Authorization Act in January 2021, but the funding part of it was not included. Now everyone is waiting for the Innovation and Competition Act, which includes the $52 billion, to be passed by the House of Representatives.
Last year, Intel invested $3.5 billion in expanding its New Mexico factory and another $20 billion in opening two semiconductor fabs (aka “fabs”) in Arizona.
Biden praised the company for all its efforts to increase the volume of chip manufacturing in the United States. In 2020, the United States accounted for only about 12% of global manufacturing, despite accounting for 47% of global chip sales, he said. Biden and Intel both want to close that gap and hope this news will speed up approval of the Innovation and Competition Act. If successful, Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger said construction of the new factories would be “bigger and faster,” according to The New York Times.
According to a Time report, “locating a chip factory in the United States does not necessarily guarantee further supply chain disruptions” because “Intel’s chips will still be sent to Asia for assembly, packaged and tested”.
Gelsinger told the magazine that the goal was to produce and package chips “all on American soil,” subject to CHIPS for America Act money.
Ongoing shortages have stalled many industries that use chips, such as cars, medical devices and graphics cards. Although PC gaming is a bit low on the priority list, it would be nice to pay a decent price for the best graphics cards at some point.