Intel to invest $7B in chip fab for Penang, report says

Malaysian authorities said Intel will invest $7 billion in a new fab for advanced semiconductor packaging in the northern state of Penang, according to a Reuters report.

The report cited a media invitation from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority. In recent months, Intel has promised new manufacturing facilities for chips in a number of geographies and broke ground in September on  two new facilities for Arizona at a cost of $20 billion. CEO Patrick Gelsinger has promised more than $100 million in chip fab investments in the U.S. and abroad.

Recent: Intel plans for foundry unit and $20B for two Arizona chip fabs prompt hope

MIDA and Intel did not immediately  respond to a request to confirm the report of the Malaysian facility.

The Malaysian fab comes amid a flurry of year-end news from Intel including plans to take its Mobileye autonomous driving unit public mid-year.  Mobileye also said it has shipped 100 million of its EyeQ SoC now in its fifth generation, which is used to support fully autonomous level 5 vehicles.

Related: Intel to take AV unit Mobileye public in mid-2022

Intel has faced troubles pushing up its share price throughout 2021, which started on Jan. 1 at $50.47 and closed Monday, Dec. 13, at $50.18 after reaching a high of $68.26 on April 9.  CEO Patrick Gelsinger took the helm as CEO on Feb. 15 when shares were $62.47.

 Gelsinger recently told the Wall Street Journal it will take five years to make Intel “well and healthy again,” which will partly come about through a push for making more chips with more fabs.  About a year ago, Intel dropped behind Nvidia as the biggest chip company by market value.

Intel’s investment in new fabs is being matched by its by new packaging, transistor and quantum physics breakthroughs.  On Dec.11 in connection with the IEDM event, Intel outlined plans for a 10X interconnect density improvement in packaging with hybrid bonding, and up to a 50% jump in transistor scaling.

The transistor bump comes by fitting more transistors per square millimeter. More efficient power is being advanced with the world’s first integration of GaN-based power switches with silicon-based CMOS on a 300 mm wafer.  Also, Intel at IEDM demonstrated the first instance of a magnetoelectric spin-orbit logic device at room temperature for quantum computing.