Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger secretly visits Japan, India and Taiwan, new foundry expansions could be on the table
Japanese publication MyNavi reports that Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger made visits to Japan, India and Taiwan last week, yet no official announcement has been posted as of now, even though Gelsinger did tweet about his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 6. According to MyNavi sources, Gelsinger met with senior officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and executives from the Liberal Democratic Party Semiconductor Strategy Promotion Council in Japan.
The exact agenda of Gelsinger’s meeting in Japan is still shrouded in mystery. However, MyNavi suggests that it could be related to Japan’s efforts to expand its technology manufacturing capacity that may eventually be used by Intel for chip production purposes.
Possible hints for this plan were given last year by Liberal Democratic Party member Akira Amari in a Semicon Japan 2021 keynote: "Japan must invest between 7 trillion and 10 trillion Yen in capital over the next 10 years by incorporating the cutting-edge technology and making use of Japan's strengths in manufacturing equipment and materials technology to install a post-3nm high-end state-of-the-art foundry in Japan and fill the missing pieces."
Other clues may have been provided at the Innepcon Japan 2022 event held in late January by Director of Information Industry Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau Kazumi Nishikawa who mentioned a possible "U.S.-Japan alliance for next-generation technology development" and future partnerships with Intel and IBM. Given that Intel does not intend to rely on TSMC’s help for more than a few years, such partnerships with the Japanese authorities spanning the next 10 years seem to make sense.
Gelsinger also visited India and met with Primeminister Modi, presumably in order to discuss Intel’s plans for foundry capacity expansion in this country. MyNavi points out that Modi has already approved a ~US$9.6 billion budget for India’s semiconductor industry assistance that directly encourages leading companies around the world to invest in future Indian foundries.
Last but not least, Gelsinger apparently met with TSMC’s management representatives once again after just 4 months from the previous meeting. No official information regarding the TSMC agenda, but the Taiwanese media speculates that Gelsinger’s visit could be related to "ordering server chips that are currently missing to counter AMD," "ordering 10G LAN chips that are short stocked, causing server delivery delays," and "calls for increased production quotas for future 3nm and 2nm processes."