To Keep U.S. Jobs, Chip Makers Share a Factory and Pin Hopes on Trump

In many ways, however, the IM Flash plant is an outlier. While companies based in the United States still dominate chip sales worldwide, only about 13 percent of the world’s chip manufacturing capacity was in this country in 2015, down from 30 percent in 1990, according to government data.

Chips Across America

The United States has 76 chip manufacturing plants, 15 of them in Texas.


Chip makers attribute the decline to a variety of forces, including high American tax rates and the hefty subsidies offered by foreign governments for new semiconductor plants, which can cost as much as $10 billion.

“It’s quite a bit more expensive to build a factory in the U.S.,” said Stacy J. Smith, the executive at Intel overseeing manufacturing, operations and sales. Intel — which predominantly manufactures in Oregon and Arizona but also has factories in Ireland, Israel and China — estimates that the extra cost for an American plant is more than $2 billion.

Chip makers are hopeful that President Trump, who has promised large corporate tax cuts and a tougher approach to trade with China, will help them.

Intel’s chief executive, Brian M. Krzanich, made a public display of his faith in the administration this month when he stood by Mr. Trump in the Oval Office to announce that the company would spend $7 billion to complete a leading-edge chip factory in Chandler, Ariz., creating 3,000 full-time jobs.

Intel said it was talking with the Trump administration and Congress about a broad corporate tax cut as well as other ways to improve the financial incentives for chip makers to locate new projects here. Although the United States has 76 semiconductor plants, many of them are older, and few new ones are being built.

Photo

Adam Hendrickson demonstrating degowning at the IM Flash…

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