MANHASSET, N.Y. Brazilian authorities will announce Wednesday plans to establish a semiconductor industry in the state of Minas Gerais, where a technology park spanning 990 acres is being dedicated to semiconductor manufacturing and design.
Called the Minas Gerais Technological Park, the site will be anchored by Brazilian semiconductor manufacturing venture Companhia Brasileira de Semiconductores, which is planning to build an analog and mixed-semiconductor wafer fab there that will run high-voltage CMOS, bipolar, BiCMOS, and other specialized processes. The fab is slated for completion by early 2007.
Besides semiconductor manufacturing, the Brazilian government will sponsor the creation of semiconductor design houses that will feed Brazilian and other global wafer fabs, through a project called Eldorado. The project aims to create both indigenous Brazilian design firms as well as attract foreign semiconductor design companies.
To date, Brazil’s efforts in establishing a global electronics presence have been mixed. Several companies, such as Motorola Inc. have announced R&D initiatives there.
Though some mobile phone and consumer electronics manufacturing occurs in Brazil, efforts to bolster the country’s presence in sectors such as semiconductors have not been as warmly received. Former Intel chief executive Craig Barrett reportedly ruled out setting up a chip plant in Brazil almost a year ago because of high labor costs.
But a CBS spokesman believes things will soon change.
"The government in Brazil is very serious about this," the spokesman told EE Times in an interview. He added that the industry plan has been in the works for roughly 18 months.
The spokesman said the venture is being backed by various Brazilian development banks and private investors, though declined to give details.
CBS chief executive and co-founder Wolfang Sauer, formerly president of Volkswagen Brazil, believes Brazil is on the cusp of becoming a player in the global semiconductor market.
"For strategic reasons many companies want to have semiconductor manufacturing located in multiple economic and geographic zones," said Sauer in a statement. "A Brazilian semiconductor industry offers a real alternative to the concentration of semiconductor manufacturing in Asia."