LONDON Bob Johnson, an analyst with Gartner Inc., has dismissed the idea of Intel Corp. putting down a trailing-edge 90-nm wafer fab in China as "wishful thinking" by Chinese authorities.
Various leaks and news from government agencies, have indicated that Intel has sought and now been granted permission for such a fab to process 300-mm diameter wafers at a cost over its lifetime of about $2.5 billion.
Johnson, writing in a weekly Gartner newsletter, said that such a move by Intel would not make sense and is contrary to previous patterns of Intel behavior.
Johnson's argument is twofold. He pointed out that Intel's manufacturing strategy is to stay at the leading edge of technology and that by the time a China fab using 90-nm technology was up and running Intel would be ramping 32-nm manufacturing. Secondly Johnson said that Intel favors putting fabs where it already has them so that both manufacturing plants benefit from economies of scale. Intel has not put a plant down on a Greenfield site for many years and is unlikely to resume the practice in China, Johnson argued.
In conclusion Johnson said that landing a major Intel fab would be a coup of the highest order for China, but is basically wishful thinking on their behalf.
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