Micron plans $150B push on US chip making, study

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The shortage of semiconductors has preoccupied the highest levels of US government, including at this February event with President Biden, who held up one of the chips. POOL/AFP

US semiconductor company Micron announced plans on October 20 to invest $150 billion over the next decade on manufacturing and research, including potential production capacity in its home country.

The announcement comes as a global chip shortage is challenging US firms.

 

“Memory is at the leading edge of semiconductor manufacturing and fuels everything from feature-rich 5G smartphones to the AI- [artificial intelligence] enabled cloud,” Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said in a news release.

Memory and storage represent 30 per cent of the semiconductor market, Micron said.

Micron already has some US fabrication operations in the states of Idaho and Virginia, but most of the operation is spread out in Asian countries such as Japan, Singapore and Taiwan where costs are lower.

A shortage of semiconductors in recent months caused by production and transportation snags due to the pandemic has been a significant drag on economic activity, hitting auto manufacturing and denting production of personal computing products.

The issue prompted President Joe Biden to call for more domestic manufacturing to reduce reliance on imports.

Micron said it planned to pursue public subsidies that have been proposed and garnered support on Capitol Hill to offset costs in the US that run 35-45 per cent higher than in other countries.

 

New fabrication sites “have the potential to create tens of thousands of new jobs and significant economic growth”, the company said.

“Funding to support new semiconductor manufacturing capacity and a refundable investment tax credit” are “critical” to Micron’s strategy.