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Spain to spend €12.25 billion on microchip industry

Spain to spend €12.25 billion on microchip industry

Semiconductor chips are seen on a circuit board of a computer in this illustration picture taken on Feb 25, 2022. (File photo: Reuters/Florence Lo)

MADRID: Spain's government has approved a plan to spend €12.25 billion on the semiconductor and microchip industry by 2027, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said on Tuesday (May 24), including €9.3 billion to fund the building of plants.

The programme that consists mostly of European Union pandemic relief funds is directed towards the digital economy and demand created by chip shortages. It was originally set at €11 billion when announced by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez last month.

"The aim is to comprehensively develop the design and production capacities of the Spanish microelectronics and semi-conductor industry, covering the entire value chain from design to chip manufacturing," Economy Minister Calvino said during a news conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

An unexpected surge in demand amid the pandemic and supply chain problems had created a worldwide shortage of microchips and forced a wide array of global manufacturers to slow down output last year, including in Spain where carmakers Volkswagen and Renault partly idled assembly lines.

The plan will finance domestic semiconductor production capacity in leading-edge (below 5 nanometers) and mid-range (above 5 nanometers) semiconductor manufacturing with a €9.3 billion investment, the government said.

It will fund research and development with a €1.1 billion subsidy and €1.3 billion will be allocated to chip design.

It will also support Spanish companies in strategic projects developed at the European level and will create a 200 million Chip Fund to finance start-ups and scale-ups in the Spanish semiconductor sector.

Lack of support, commitment, vision or even a coherent strategy were some of the reasons why the chip industry has no presence in Spain so far, Calvino added.

"We want Spain to play a relevant role in this technological field, the role it deserves, and the European funds offer an extraordinary opportunity," she said.

Source: Reuters/ng


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