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Applied Materials to invest USD4B in Silicon Valley chip research centre

CNA – United States (US) semiconductor toolmaker Applied Materials Inc yesterday said it plans to spend up to USD4 billion on a research centre in the heart of Silicon Valley to speed up advances in semiconductor manufacturing.

The centre, which will be based in Sunnyvale, California, will come on line in 2026 and create up to 2,000 engineering jobs, said Applied, which is the world’s biggest maker of the tools used in manufacturing chips.

The facility will host about USD25 billion of research work over its first decade, pulling together staff from research universities and major chipmakers such as Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, among others.

The announcement comes as the US is trying to bring back advanced semiconductor manufacturing with a USD52 billion measure passed last year.

Applied Materials said the new facility, called the Equipment and Process Innovation and Commercialization (EPIC) Center, will be the size of over three American football fields.

A rendering of the future Applied Materials Equipment and Process Innovation and Commercialization (EPIC) Center in Sunnyvale, California. PHOTO: CNA

Applied said it will invest in it over seven years and wants subsidies from the government through the CHIPS and Science Act.

“We’re absolutely going to go forward. The scale of how fast we invest is going to be tied to the government incentives,” Applied Materials CEO Gary Dickerson said. “The economics of this are compelling in terms of accelerating the technology road maps for our customers and also for Applied.”

Taking ideas from research universities and turning them into tools used in factories can take many years, said Applied executives. By putting universities and chip manufacturers under one roof with Applied, the company hopes to slash that time by nearly a third by having the three groups carry out some of their work in parallel.

US Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to attend an Applied Materials’ event in Silicon Valley announcing the centre, along with top executives from major chip companies.

Senior administration officials briefing the media ahead of the event said the Commerce Department received over 300 statements of interest for the USD39 billion portion of the CHIPS Act for manufacturing incentives. They said details on application requirements for USD11 billion set aside for research facilities will come in the early fall.

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