Intel vows another $600m investment in Israeli chip R&D

Photo: AP

Intel earmarked further investments amounting at 600 million dollars to finance its Research and Development plans in Israel and confirmed further 10bn in a new chip enterprise, Reuters reported. The announcement was done by Intel Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger. At present Intel is implementing a $400m investment plan to turn its Mobileye unit headquartered in Jerusalem into an R&D campus for developing self-driving car technologies.

Another $200 million will be invested in building an R&D centre, called IDC12, in the northern port city of Haifa next to its current development centre. Intel said the "mega chip design" facility will have a capacity of 6,000 employees. In recent years, Intel has bought three Israeli tech companies - Mobileye in 2017 for more than $15 billion, artificial intelligence chipmaker Habana in 2019 for $2 billion and Moovit a year ago for $1 billion.

Israel's Finance Ministry in early 2019 announced Intel would get a $1 billion grant to build an $11 billion chip plant, although at the time Intel would not confirm the amount. Now Intel says investment would be $10 billion and the first phase of construction has begun. Its current Fab 28 plant at the company's Kiryat Gat site produces 10 nanometre (nm) chips.

Intel has not disclosed whether the new plant will produce smaller chips, which can increase efficiency, but in March it said it was building two 7 nm chip plants in Arizona for some $20 billion.

Intel Israel's exports grew to a record $8 billion in 2020 from $6.6 billion in 2019, accounting for 14% of total high-tech exports and 2% of Israel's GDP. Intel is the largest employer of Israel’s high tech industry with nearly 14,000 workers.

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