Arizona's semiconductor industry more in focus amid national security and economic concerns

Margaret Henschel, one of the more than 50,000 Intel employees in the United States, moves through Fab 32, a high-volume manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona. Intel Corporation’s U.S. manufacturing and research and development facilities are in Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico. They operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. (Credit: Tim Herman/Intel Corporation)
Posted at 9:02 AM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 12:02:08-04

The COVID-19 pandemic induced a global shortage of computer chips, and the shortfall has raised subsequent questions about American manufacturing ability and how it affects the nation’s security.

As it stands, the majority of semiconductor chips are produced in Asia, but this week President Joe Biden, legislators and private industry have laid out plans to bring more semiconductor producing ability back stateside and, as a result, Arizona is set to play a crucial role.

The state is home to ON Semiconductor, Microchip and NXP facilities as well as scores of other ancillary chip industry companies. Intel has had a campus in Chandler since 1980 and in March it announced a $20 billion investment to build two more factories and create an additional 3,000 jobs.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., one of the largest chip producers in the world, will start construction of its $12 billion factory in north Phoenix in the coming months and the Business Journal has also reported that Arizona is one of the potential landing spots for a new Samsung chip-producing fab.

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly told the Business Journal that the state can play a key part in bringing these chipmaking jobs back to America.

“We've got an opportunity to grow the semiconductor sector in the state of Arizona,” Kelly said in a Tuesday interview. “This is critical for our national security. But it's also a great opportunity for our state as a leader in this industry already, to just double down on Arizona being a real hub for manufacturing of these critical components that go into so many things that we rely on every single day.”

Read more of this subscription-only story from the Phoenix Business Journal.