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German semiconductor giants gather for ‘AI-electric vehicle speed battle’

German semiconductor giants gather for ‘AI-electric vehicle speed battle’

Posted April. 03, 2023 08:00,   

Updated April. 03, 2023 08:00


The outskirt of ‘Silicon Saxony,’ a semiconductor industrial complex located in Dresden, Saxony, Germany on March 27 (local time).

The vacant area situated in front of Infineon Technologies' semiconductor production facility, which is Germany's largest semiconductor company, was bustling with the sound of heavy machinery, such as excavators and trucks that were digging up and loading soil. “The 300-mm wafer clean room is set to commence operations in the autumn of 2026,” said Dianna Kasserer, the company's public relations manager. Also noticeable were the tight security measures in place, such as barbed wire fencing surrounding the semiconductor production base for electric vehicles, a crucial national industry, and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed at various locations.

Amid the competition among the U.S., South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and China for leadership in the global high-tech semiconductor supply chain, significant investments are being made in Silicon Saxony. This region produces one out of every three semiconductors manufactured in Europe.

In three years, an additional clean room the size of three soccer fields (20,000 m²) will be added to the construction site. The existing production facility (approximately 40,000 m²) will be expanded by 1.5 times. Infineon, the worldwide leader in automotive semiconductors, is investing 5 billion euros (approximately 7 trillion won) in clean room expansion, the largest amount since its foundation. Bosch has also decided to invest 100 million euros (about 140 billion won) in expanding its production facilities this year. “Inquiries from global companies for investment have increased after the European Union (EU) announced its policy of the ‘European Chips Act,’ which provides large-scale subsidies to companies investing in member countries,” said Armin Reis, the head of information and communication technology (ICT) at the Saxony Economic Development Corporation.

Lately, global biotech companies have been flocking to the biotech cluster in Kendall Square, located next to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, the U.S. This area is well-known for its nickname “the most innovative square mile on Earth.” It is home to research and development (R&D) centers of nine of the world's top 10 biopharmaceutical companies. Domestic companies such as Hanmi Pharm and LG Chem are also establishing bases in Boston.

As such, technologically advanced countries are focusing their efforts on building a high-tech industrial ecosystem, firmly believing that such complexes, which generate added value worth tens of trillions of won each year, will serve as the foundation of the global technology race.

Eun-A Cho achim@donga.com