SAN FRANCISCO—Chip foundry Globalfoundries Inc. plans to invest $6 to $8 billion on a semiconductor fab in Abu Dhabi that will break ground in 2012 and begin producing chips in 2015, according to a report by the Bloomberg news service.
The report, which quotes executives from Globalfoundries' Abu Dhabi-based parent company, Advanced Technology Investment Co. (ATIC), indicates that ATIC is actively searching for other investment opportunities outside the semiconductor industry. The firm has already evaluated and rejected three investment opportunities worth between $3 billion and $5 billion, according to the report.
ATIC and Globalfoundries have talked of building a fab in Abu Dhabi since ATIC and Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) struck a deal to create Globalfoundries through the spinoff of AMD's manufacturing arm in 2009. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that ATIC would spend up to $7 billion to build a fab in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
The Bloomberg report arose from a meeting in Abu Dhabi between executives of Globafoundries, AMD and ATIC, which is now a subsidiary or Mubadala Development Co. According to a statement issued by ATIC, the executives gathered to showcase Abu Dhabi's role in future high-tech computing, including details on AMD's upcoming 32-nm Fusion accelerated processing unit (APU), code-named "Llano." The chip will be manufactured for AMD by Globalfoundries.
"The manufacturing of the upcoming Llano APUs are a great proof point to the strategic investment partnership between ATIC, Mubadala, AMD and Globalfoundries in this increasingly global industry," said Ibrahim Ajami, CEO of ATIC. "Through investments in Globalfoundries' Fab 1 facility in Dresden, Germany—where the Llano APU is manufactured—ATIC is driving advances in technology that will meet increasingly sophisticated customer demands and market needs."
According to the Bloomberg report, Globalfoundries will invest about $5.5 billion this year to expand plants in Singapore (formerly Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd.), Dresden and New York state.
When doing a due diligence on an outsource of wafers one looks at the supply chain in terms of location to post fabrication (this is mainly Asia), political stability, geographical integrity (i.e. earthquakes), government support, technical resources,etc. Investing billions of dollars does not automatically put you in the game to win.
One thing different from Intel (foundry) that GFoundries is doing currently/planning to ramp up is the exploding MEMS market. Global is also actively participating in the emerging 3D stacking thru TSV which as lot of synergies with the MEMS activity. This differentiation will certainly give Global some advantages over Intel.
Intel is also active in stacked 3D chip development and recently with the trigate 3D monolithic structures. How ever, I have not seen much in MEMS activity that is publicized.
Intel has gone thru many cycles of ups & downs in its history and has come back stronger. There isn't much to say it can not repeat that this time around; time will tell...
Dr. MP Divakar
AMD Fusion chips is still the unknown and I predict that it will be a very hot chip!!! The graphic capabiity inside Fusion Chips is comparable to $200 discrete graphic cards ... or more. and even better ! I still coudlnt find any information on how Fusion chips run at all. It is apparently under tight wraps and poised for a wild success for AMD as more market share will be won!
AMD is going to be a far more formidable competitor to Intel in the years to come. AMD is no longer restrained by the fab capacity , anymore.. the next time AMD comes up with a hot chip and there better be no question about any shortage of that hot chip as GlobalFoundries should be able to churn limitless amounts of chips as AMD wishes. Intel can build all the fabs it can but Global Foundries can make as many chips as Intel can... Who cares about the Fabs anymore.. Many Intel buyers can choose AMD chips instead to save money but elect not to ... Those IT guys think they really need Intel chips which they often dont... really.. AMD chips can do what Intel chips can most of the times.. if not all the times.. AMD control s only 7% of the server market which is very odd to me... It is obvious to me that IT guys dont know exactly what they really need to do that is to save money..
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