Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has been betting big on his bet that the US could be a leader in chipmaking again, but right now he’s not feeling so good about the 20-year plan. billion dollars from Intel to lead a semiconductor renaissance in Ohio.

Intel recently publicly warned that it could delay Ohio’s plan and cited Congress’ failure to pass the CHIPS Act, which includes large chip industry subsidies of up to $52 billion (40 billion dollars for manufacturing and 12 billion dollars for R&D), which has already been adopted. by the Senate.

“I hate the thought of announcing a delay,” Gelsinger told CNBC’s Sara Eisen during an appearance with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “I’m not a latecomer. The idea of ​​delaying…it sucks…I’m not a latecomer,” Gelsinger said.

“Everyone saw our announcement of our delay and it’s a huge signal for the industry, to get the shovels in the ground and the United States serious about rebuilding this industry on American soil,” he said. he declares. “It’s game time,” he added. “Do it before August.”

Today, 12% of high-end semiconductor manufacturing is done in the United States

According to the Intel CEO, passage of the CHIPS law and Intel’s lead decision would lead to much more activity from global chip companies. “I’ve spoken to most of the top CEOs in the world,” he said, and his peers indicate they will also consider coming to the United States if the economy is attractive. “Asians all believe they need to put more manufacturing in the United States… At this point, we see that as a domino effect,” he said.

Some critics argue that a company with $75 billion in annual revenue need not receive government subsidies to build a new factory, but Gelsinger noted that manufacturing subsidies for every $10 billion factory dollars in the Ohio complex would be capped at $3 billion. . And he said these subsidies are based on the reality of government incentives around the world for chip factories, which led to the United States losing its lead.

If Intel builds a new factory in Europe, India, South Korea or China, the factories can be subsidized in the range of 30% to 50% (even 70% in China).

“It’s real money and it’s not economically viable as everyone around the world sees this reduction,” Gelsinger said. “We don’t compete with TMSC or Samsung. We compete with Taiwan, Japan and Korea.”

The CHIPS law cap of $3 billion per factory would make Intel’s factories “roughly competitive with other regions of the world,” he said. “We are not looking for freebies,” he added.

A third of the world’s semi-finished product supply comes from or passes through China at some point in the manufacturing process, which is the largest and fastest growing chip market. “It’s such a crucial moment if we don’t act now,” Gelsinger said. “Please don’t dither in Congress because of petty partisanship.”

In a sign of his frustration with Congress, the Intel CEO noted that in Europe, which has a complex 27-member bloc of nations with far more political variation, governments have moved faster to approve funding arrangements for semiconductor manufacturing, and that’s after the United States. got a leg up on Capitol Hill with the CHIPS law. “The rest of the world is moving fast despite Congress’ inability to get this over with,” he said.

Intel also makes important financial decisions, with ramifications for investor relations. “I told Wall Street we were going to have negative free cash flow for the first time in three decades and I can’t be more aggressive in my profile,” Gelsinger said. When it first announced the plan, Intel shares plunged.

While Intel can’t refocus on Asia even if Congress doesn’t act, it said the likely path is to focus more chipmaking plans on Europe. “And that’s a shame,” he said. “We want to go first and bigger in Ohio.”

Intel has already announced a new site in Germany, which could cost up to $100 billion and has committed an initial investment of $20 billion.

While Congress blocked the law, Congress never voted to get rid of the semiconductor industry, he said, but lost it to Asia because the government has taken action in these countries to support new factories. “It’s a matter of industrial policy and these nations see this policy as so critical. What aspect of your life isn’t getting more digital? Name it,” Gelsinger said.

He estimated that the US economy was losing $1 billion a day in GDP by divesting the semiconductor industry to other nations (of which now up to 80% are based in Asia) and said he was reaching a balance of 50% to 50% between the West (including Europe) and the East is at the heart not only of the economic functioning but also of the geopolitics of the next 50 years. “Where the oil reserves were in the last five decades…the fabs are bigger in the next five decades.” This is the future of geopolitics,” he said.

“We increasingly rely on other countries for things that we absolutely need for our own economy,” Portman added.


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