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Intel Is Investing $20 Billion Towards a Massive New Semiconductor Plant

As an analyst argues China is 'three or four generations behind the leading-edge.'

Intel is set to invest $20 billion into a massive new semiconductor chip manufacturing site near Columbus, Ohio, a report from Reuters reveals.

The news comes as an analyst informs that China, which has invested heavily in semiconductor technology in recent years, is "three or four generations" away from being at the cutting edge of semiconductor production.

Intel's ambitious production plans

Intel's new investment will go towards building two new semiconductor manufacturing plants, bringing 3,000 new permanent jobs to the 1,000-acre site in Albany, Ohio. Reuters explains that the $20 billion investment could be the first step in building an eight-factory complex that could cost additional tens of billions of dollars.

Intel also recently announced plans for another U.S. campus site that would begin construction before the end of the year. Reports say the new site could cost $100 billion and eventually employ 10,000 people.

Chipmakers worldwide are frantically trying to boost output amid the global chip shortage brought on by massive demand and supply chain disruption fueled by the pandemic. Intel is also trying to regain its position as a global leader in producing the smallest and fastest semiconductor technologies, which was recently taken by the current leader, Taiwan-based TSMC. 

China's production is 'three or four generations behind' the world leaders

With the Biden administration aiming to convince Congress to approve $52 billion in funding to massively boost chip production in the U.S., China is also aiming to become a global leader in semiconductor production. 

However, in a recent interview with CNBC, the International Data Corporation's group vice, president Mario Morales, said "I still believe that [China is] probably three or four generations behind what is considered leading-edge. So, if you look at leading-edge, we're talking about 16-nanometer or 14-nanometer and below. The majority of that comes, primarily, from Taiwan and Korea, and to a certain degree in the U.S., with Intel."

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China is aiming to boost its self-sufficiency via chip production following the U.S.'s recent high-profile sanctions against Chinese tech companies including chip maker SMIC and telecommunications firm Huawei. According to Morales, China currently has the capacity "to support 28-nanometer and they've started some sampling of 14-nanometer." However, he argues that the Chinese ecosystem isn't currently positioned to scale that capability and that they are in need of global partners to help bring down the cost of production.

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