Intel Corp wants 8 billion euros (US$9.7 billion) in public subsidies toward building a semiconductor factory in Europe, chief executive officer Pat Gelsinger was cited as saying on Friday, as the region seeks to reduce its reliance on imports amid a shortage of supplies.
The pitch is the first time that Gelsinger has publicly put a figure on how much state aid he would want, as Intel campaigns to take on Asian rivals in contract manufacturing.
“What we’re asking from both the US and the European governments is to make it competitive for us to do it here, compared to in Asia,” Gelsinger told Politico Europe in an interview.
Politico cited Gelsinger as saying that he was seeking about 8 billion euros in subsidies.
The company later distanced itself from the report, saying that he had not given a specific figure, although he had made it clear that EU leaders needed to invest to ensure a vibrant semiconductor industry.
Gelsinger, on his first European tour since taking charge, met EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton in Brussels on Friday.
Gelsinger is prospecting for a location for a plant in Europe that he says would back Breton’s goal of doubling the region’s share of global chip output to 20 percent over the next decade.
Earlier on Friday, Breton held talks with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s No. 1 chipmaker, ahead of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co and Intel.
In separate posts on Twitter, Breton described his meeting with Gelsinger as an “in-depth discussion,” while a video call with TSMC Europe presdient Maria Marced had been a “good exchange.”
“To meet current & future semiconductor industry demand, Europe will drastically increase production capacity — both on its own and through selected partnerships to ensure security of supply,” Breton said.
TSMC said that the talks with Breton demonstrated its commitment to the region.
“Our desire to support our customers as fully as possible means that we’re always willing to establish open communications with governments and regulators wherever they, and we, are based,” it said.
The commission said that Breton would hold further talks tomorrow with the CEOs of two Dutch semiconductor players: ASML Holding NV, the leading maker of semiconductor lithography tools, and chipmaker NXP Semiconductor NV.
Industry and diplomatic sources said that, of the Big Three chipmakers, Intel is the only one so far to express concrete interest in Breton’s goal of producing the most advanced chips in Europe.
Breton’s drive to attract a major foreign chipmaker has unnerved homegrown players, and he is also discussing the creation of a European semiconductor alliance that would bundle their interests.
On Friday, Germany’s Infineon AG welcomed Breton’s initiative, saying: “As financial resources are naturally limited, it is important to discuss most urgent needs and the most reasonable ways of investment.”
Gelsinger, who met with German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier and Bavarian State Premier Markus Soeder on the German leg of his European tour, was quoted as saying that Germany would be a suitable location for a potential European foundry.
“Geopolitically, if you’re in Europe, you want to be in continental Europe,” he told Politico, in remarks echoed in a second interview with business daily Handelsblatt.
“We think of Germany as a good candidate — not the only, but a good candidate — for where we might build our fabrication capabilities,” he said, also indicating interest in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
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