GlobalFoundries to construct Abu Dhabi plant next year

Chip production at the plant will begin in 2015

Chip manufacturing firm GlobalFoundries will begin construction of a new manufacturing plant in Abu Dhabi next year, the majority stakeholder of the company said on Friday.

Production of chips in the Abu Dhabi plant will begin in 2015, said Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), a part of the Abu Dhabi government's Mubadala Development investment arm, in an e-mailed statement.

Earlier this week GlobalFoundries announced its intention to open a plant in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, but had not given a date when it would break ground. The company has said that market demand will determine what types of chips to produce at the plant.

GlobalFoundries is the third largest pure-play chip maker by revenue, and owns factories in the U.S., Germany and Singapore. The company will spend US$5.4 billion this year to expand its factory in New York state, and is looking to pump in billions of additional dollars on other factories to expand manufacturing capacity to meet the growing demand for chips used in computing products such as PCs, tablets and smartphones.

GlobalFoundries began operations in 2009 when Advanced Micro Devices' manufacturing arm was spun off. AMD retains a minority stake in GlobalFoundries.

Speculation about a fab in Abu Dhabi began in late 2007 when Mubadala bought an 8.1 percent stake in AMD for $622 million.

In 2009, GlobalFoundries acquired Singaporean contract chip maker Chartered Semiconductor, which previously was the third-largest contract chip-maker in the world behind Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics (UMC).

The Abu Dhabi factory could make GlobalFoundries a big technology player in the Middle East and establish the United Arab Emirates as a technology hub. Intel already is a powerhouse in the region and operates a fab in Israel.

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