Last year, Intel inaugurated Intel Foundry Services: it is a service that offers the possibility, to external customers, to use Intel factories for the production of their own chips , along the lines of what happens when you rely on Samsung. Foundry or TSMC. The latest news concerns the strategic agreement between Intel and MediaTek, one of TSMC's long-standing customers .
Intel Foundry and the agreement with MediTek for the production of chips
According to the announcement published , the partnership between Intel and MediaTek involves the manufacture of chips for "a range of smart edge devices" using Intel Foundry Services (IFS), with the aim of building a "more balanced and resilient supply chain" , with additional capacity in the US and Europe:
“Intel and MediaTek today announced a strategic partnership to manufacture chips using advanced process technologies from Intel Foundry Services (IFS). The agreement is designed to help MediaTek build a more balanced and resilient supply chain through the addition of a new foundry partner with significant capabilities in both the United States and Europe. MediaTek plans to use Intel process technologies to produce more chips for a range of smart edge devices. IFS offers a broad manufacturing platform with optimized technologies for high performance, low power and always-on connectivity built on a roadmap that ranges from production-proven three-dimensional FinFET transistors to next-generation innovations. "
For the uninitiated, MediaTek is a chip maker known primarily for its smartphone processors for OnePlus, Samsung, and others, with most of its capacity currently being handled by giant TSMC. However, it appears that Intel will build chips for less "appetizing" devices used for industrial computing, medical devices, Internet of Things applications and more.
The partnership thus fulfills the commitment of Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger to find customers for his foundry business. Intel launched IFS in 2021 to take advantage of the growing demand for semiconductor manufacturing by offering “cutting edge packaging and process technologies” , with operations in both the United States and Europe. As one of the leading fabless chip makers, MediaTek would be a key customer.
“As one of the world's leading fabless chip designers powering over 2 billion devices annually, MediaTek is an exceptional partner for IFS as we enter our next phase of growth,” said IFS President Randhir Thakur. "We have the right combination of advanced process technology and geographically diverse capabilities to help MediaTek deliver the next billion connected devices across a broad range of applications."
Subsidies and tax credits
In 2021, Intel announced it would build chips for Qualcomm as part of its foundry launch. It also detailed its strategy to grab rivals TSMC and Samsung by 2025, kicking off with a $ 20 billion investment in two Arizona manufacturing plants. Later, also in 2021, the Biden administration rejected Intel's plans to manufacture silicon wafers in China as a way to alleviate global chip shortages, citing security concerns.
The US Senate will vote on the CHIPS Act designed to bolster national semiconductor manufacturing with tax credits and subsidies of up to $ 52 billion. However, some industry players fear it might favor Intel, at the expense of smaller manufacturers like AMD, Qualcomm, and NVIDIA. These companies, in fact, design their own chips but don't make them, so they wouldn't see any direct benefit from subsidies.