Intel mum on plans for first China chip plant

Intel declined to comment Friday on reports that it had won approval to build a chip-making plant in China

Intel has won approval from the Chinese government to build its first Asian chip-making plant, according to published reports.

Although troubled by a string of sinking quarterly profit reports and buffeted by a corporate reorganization, Intel is still the world's biggest semiconductor manufacturer. Building a multibillion dollar chip fab and employing thousands of workers would make a huge impact on the local Chinese economy.

A spokesman for the Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau of Dalian, a city in northeastern China, said on Thursday that the central government had approved Intel's plan, according to Bloomberg.

Intel declined to comment on the report, but said it has a long-standing policy to increase its presence in the country.

"We have not announced plans to build a fab in China," said Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy. "I can tell you, however, that we have said many times in the past that since more than 75 percent of our sales come from outside the U.S., we have been and will likely continue to invest in international markets. In fact we have indicated in the past that we'd like to build a fab in China."

Intel has been courting the Chinese market on other fronts, too. In December, the company announced it would hold one of its annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF) trade shows in Beijing instead of San Francisco. The move was part of a plan to scale back its IDF shows from 14 to only three in 2007 -- Beijing in April, San Francisco in September and Taipei in October.

It was not clear what kind of semiconductors Intel would build in the Chinese plant. In general the company makes microprocessors, chipsets and flash memory components in its fabs, then sends those silicon wafers to its assembly and test plants to be cut and packaged. Both operations demand major investments to support -- in 2006 Intel planned to spend US$6.2 billion on capital spending and US$6 billion on research and development.

Future fabs will probably focus on building chips with smaller features. The company is relying on several new technologies to rescue its plunging profits in 2007, Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini told analysts during a conference call about Intel's quarterly financials on Tuesday. In coming quarters, the company will complete its transition from 90-nanometer to 65-nm process geometry for manufacturing chips, take further steps toward 45-nm manufacturing, build more quad-core microprocessors for servers and workstations, and bundle wireless connectivity with advanced graphics and flash memory in its "Santa Rosa" notebook platform.

The company already has some operations in China, including two of its six global assembly and test sites, located in Shanghai and Chengdu, China. The others are in San Jose, Costa Rica; Kulim, Malaysia; Penang, Malaysia; and Cavite, Philippines. Intel is also building a new site in Ho Chi Minh City.

Intel builds its chips at 15 wafer fabs in nine locations around the world, with U.S. operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Oregon, and outside the U.S. in Leixlip, Ireland; Jerusalem and Kiryal Gat, Israel.

Intel's main rival in the microprocessor market, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) builds all of its chips outside the U.S., using two fabs in Dresden, Germany. That is set to change around 2014 when AMD opens a fab in New York.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ben Ames

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?