Intel CEO comes to Oregon to plea for government subsidies
An Intel CEO had not addressed the Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit for ten years until Pat Gelsinger showed up at the Oregon Convention Center on Monday. The man with the Silicon Valley tan listed his Oregon bona fides before promising that Intel Corp. would never move its manufacturing out of Oregon. An Intel founder who took a 30-year detour through other chipmakers before returning to the top job this year, Gelsinger sought to reassure the locals that Oregon matters. 21,000 people in Oregon work for Intel and over 500 local businesses sell services to Intel.
"Up on Mount Hood I taught all four of my kids to ski, we had a vacation home and Sun River, I'm still highly biased to Tillamook cheese and my favorite is their vanilla bean ice cream …A good Saturday is Stumptown Coffee with a Voodoo Doughnut…this is just a special place on earth that you have here."
Gelsinger talked up the $50 billion the company has spent on fabrication plants, including in Oregon, including the upcoming D1X research plant.
"Can you imagine ever moving our fabs out of the state? $50 billion invested and more pouring in? Never, right?"
He was asking for support for the CHIPS Act, the legislation before Congress for $52 billion in subsidies for the construction of new factories across the country. It would fund research for the next decade of semiconductor design, which is important because chips are now in almost every appliance and behind every service.
He told elected officials, "I ask you, I implore you, I beg of you to be driving your legislation to get the CHIPS Act funded as quickly as possible…and ensure that America maintains its position of leadership."
Gelsinger said only three companies researches and design chips at the highest level: Samsung in Korea, TSMC in Taiwan, and Intel in the US. The first two have benefitted greatly from government funding, especially the form of tax breaks, and Gelsinger thinks it is about time Intel got more.
This was a "buy American" pitch. "We're dependent on a fragile supply chain in Asia," he said American manufacturers.
Intel has big fabs in Arizona, Ireland and Israel, but he stressed that they are copied form models developed in Oregon.
The chip shortage is hitting Americans where it hurts, that is, when they want news cars and gaming consoles. Gelsinger talked about $30,000 cars waiting in line for a $2 chip, saying that the CHIPS Act could help with that shortage, in the long term. He said chips make up 4% to 5% of a new car components today, but in electric vehicles it is expected to be 20% by 2030.
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