GlobalFoundries plans to open fab in Abu Dhabi

GlobalFoundries commits to opening fabrication plant, but does not provide a specific date

Chip manufacturing company GlobalFoundries on Thursday said it plans to open a factory in Abu Dhabi as it expands worldwide operations.

The company has not set a specific date on when it will start constructing the factory, but has begun early planning and design work, said Jason Gorss, a GlobalFoundries spokesman, in an e-mail.

"We haven't established a concrete timeline or announced specific details about the facility," Gorss said. "Ultimately the details of our presence in Abu Dhabi will be based on market demand and the needs of our customers."

GlobalFoundries, started in 2009 as a spin-off of Advanced Micro Devices' manufacturing arm, is majority-owned by Advanced Technology Investment Company, which is a part of the Abu Dhabi government's Mubadala Development investment arm. AMD retains a minority stake in GlobalFoundries.

Speculation around AMD's plans to open a manufacturing plant in Abu Dhabi started in late 2007, when Mubadala bought an 8.1 percent stake in AMD for US$622 million.

Analysts at the time said the fab would lead to AMD building a strong technology base in the Middle East where it could rival Intel, which operates a chip manufacturing facility in Israel. Analysts also said that opening a plant could empower technology education in the region.

But in early 2009, AMD spun off its manufacturing arm to GlobalFoundries. GlobalFoundries today owns fabrication plants in the U.S., Germany and Singapore.

GlobalFoundries is making AMD's latest Fusion chips, code-named Llano, using the 32-nanometer process. AMD is due to officially start shipping the chips early in the second half, and some Llano laptops and desktops will be shown at the Computex trade show, which will be held in Taipei between May 31 and June 4.

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