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BERLIN: American chip-making giant Intel said on Tuesday it planned to invest up to 80 billion euros ($87.9 billion) in Europe over the next decade for the research and manufacturing of semiconductors.

The project included a 17-billion-euro “mega site” in Magdeburg, Germany, for the production of the scarce and strategically important component, the group said in a statement.

The US group would also develop its research and development centre in France, as well as expanding its facilities in Ireland with a 12-billion-euro funding boost and investing in Italy, Spain and Poland.

The details of the announcement were hotly anticipated in Europe, where governments have been looking to reduce their dependency on imports of chips from Asia by boosting production at home.

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Intel’s investment “addresses the global need for a more balanced and resilient supply chain”, CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a press conference.

Semiconductors, also referred to as chips, were “more critical than ever”, and were the “brains powering essential digital technologies”, he said.

The production of semiconductors has become a strategic priority in Europe as well as the United States, after the shock of the pandemic choked off supply, bringing factories to a standstill and emptying stores of products.

Intel plans to begin building its manufacturing hub in the eastern German city of Magdeburg in the “first half of 2023” with production to begin as soon as 2027.

In Italy, the American group is in negotiations with the government to invest “up to 4.5 billion euros” in a manufacturing facility.

While in France, Intel will create a European R&D hub near Plateau de Saclay, outside Paris, in time creating 1,000 jobs.

Speaking in the Intel launch event, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the US group’s announcement was the “first major achievement” of the EU Chip Act, a 43-billion-euro plan to boost production of the key technology.

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