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Intel to invest €33bn in EU semiconductor manufacturing network

Intel is starting off a major EU chips investment with €33bn going to Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Intel has revealed the first stage of its expansive investment programme for semiconductor manufacturing across Europe, starting with a €33bn investment.

Ireland will see €12bn of this pan-European investment for its site in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

The investment will fund an expansion that will double the manufacturing space at the Leixlip facility, expanding Intel’s foundry services in Europe and bringing Intel 4 process technology to this region. Chips based on this 7nm process are expected to debut in 2023.

This comes as part of the first phase of a planned €80bn investment in the EU over the next decade.

The EU roadmap is part of Intel’s broader IDM 2.0 strategy for integrated device manufacturing announced last year. Ireland’s role in this ambitious plan has included the creation of 1,600 permanent high-skilled jobs at the company’s Kildare campus.

“Our planned investments are a major step both for Intel and for Europe,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. “We are committed to playing an essential role in shaping Europe’s digital future for decades to come.”

Ireland

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD, spoke with Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger ahead of the announcement today (15 March) in Brussels.

“This announcement firmly underlines the importance of Intel’s operations here for their future plans and the company’s deep and ongoing commitment to Ireland,” said Martin.

“Investing a further €12bn, on top of the €5bn previously announced on the new Fab 34 building, brings the overall investment by Intel in its site here to €30bn. This very significant show of confidence, in Ireland and in our talented and skilled workforce, is a strong endorsement of our offering to investors.”

Speaking at the announcement, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said this marks “the first major achievement of the EU Chips Act”.

The European Chips Act was announced by von der Leyen last month, detailing a strategy to make Europe the source of 20pc of the world’s chip production by 2030.

Eamonn Sinnott, general manager of Intel Ireland, said the level of investment “demonstrates that Ireland is a very competitive location for leading edge investments such as these and will be into the future”.

“With this new fab we double the manufacturing capacity available in Ireland and will deliver powerful and efficient Intel 4 technology to a continent hungry for local production of leading-edge semiconductor technology.”

IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan welcomed the “remarkable” investment and said it would have “a profound impact” on the Irish economy.

“Intel’s campus in Leixlip is home to one of the largest industrial construction projects in Europe and will house some of the most complex manufacturing facilities in the world. Once the facility is operational, employment in Intel Ireland will stand at 6,500,” Shanahan added.

Germany

Intel has also committed €17bn for a semiconductor fabrication mega-site in Germany. This site, dubbed ‘Silicon Junction’, will consist of two first-of-their-kind fabs that will deliver chips using Intel’s Angstrom-era transistor technologies.

Construction is expected to begin in the first half of next year with the facility planned to be online by 2027. This site will serve Intel’s foundry customers in Europe and around the world.

The German investment will eventually lead to 3,000 permanent high-skilled jobs for the Saxony-Anhalt region.

The name Silicon Junction is inspired by Intel’s plans to make this German site a connection point for its other centres of innovation and manufacturing across the country and region.

France

Further to this pan-European investment, France will see a new Intel R&D and design hub established around Plateau de Saclay, which is also known as also Silicon Valley Européenne.

This comes with the creation of 1,000 high-tech jobs, 450 of which are expected to be available by the end of 2024.

France is set to become Intel’s European headquarters for high-performance computing and artificial intelligence design capabilities.

Intel also plans to establish its main European foundry design centre in France.

Italy

Intel and Italy have entered into negotiations to build a state-of-the-art back-end manufacturing facility there. This represents a potential investment of up to €4.5bn, creating about 1,500 jobs.

The proposed facility would be a first of its kind in the EU and the commitment from Intel comes in addition to other foundry innovation and growth opportunities it has planned for the region following completion of its $5.4bn acquisition of Tower Semiconductor.

Intel acquired the Israeli chipmaker to expand its reach in the US and Asia, where Tower operates foundries, but the deal also presents growth opportunities for the business in Italy, Israel and Japan. Tower has a significant partnership with STMicroelectronics, which has a fab in Agrate Brianza.

Poland

In Gdansk, Poland, Intel will increase its lab space by 50pc by 2023. This location will focus on developments in deep neural networks, audio, graphics, data centres and cloud computing.

Spain

The Barcelona Supercomputing Centre and Intel plan to establish joint labs in the Spanish city.

Intel has been collaborating with the centre on exascale architecture for the past 10 years and is now working on zettascale architecture for the coming decade.

Additional reporting by Vish Gain

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.


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Aviation and Telecom Industries Reach Compromise on 5G Deployment

The Voice Of EU | In a significant development, AT&T and Verizon, the two largest mobile network operators in the United States, have agreed to delay the deployment of 5G services following requests from the aviation industry and the Biden administration. This decision marks a crucial compromise in the long-standing dispute between the two industries, which had raised concerns over the potential interference of 5G with flight signals.
The aviation industry, led by United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, had been vocal about the risks of 5G deployment, citing concerns over the safety of flight operations. Kirby had urged AT&T and Verizon to delay their plans, warning that proceeding with the deployment would be a “catastrophic failure of government.” The US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the issue further highlighted the need for a solution.
In response, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Steve Dickson sent a letter to the mobile networks, requesting a two-week delay to reassess the potential risks. Initially, AT&T and Verizon were hesitant, citing the aviation industry’s two-year preparation window. However, they eventually agreed to the short delay, pushing the deployment to January 19.
The crux of the issue lies in the potential interference between 5G signals and flight equipment, particularly radar altimeters. The C-Band spectrum used by 5G networks is close to the frequencies employed by these critical safety devices. The FAA requires accurate and reliable radar altimeters to ensure safe flight operations.

Airlines in the US have been at loggerheads with mobile networks over the deployment of 5G and its potential impact on flight safety.

Despite the concerns, both the FAA and the telecoms industry agree that 5G mobile networks and airline travel can coexist safely. In fact, they already do in nearly 40 countries where US airlines operate regularly. The key lies in reducing power levels around airports and fostering cross-industry collaboration prior to deployment.
The FAA has been working to find a solution in the United States, and the additional two-week delay will allow for further assessment and preparation. AT&T and Verizon have also agreed to not operate 5G base stations along runways for six months, similar to restrictions imposed in France.
President Joe Biden hailed the decision to delay as “a significant step in the right direction.” The European Union Aviation Safety Agency and South Korea have also reported no unsafe interference with radio waves since the deployment of 5G in their regions.
As the aviation and telecom industries continue to work together, it is clear that safe coexistence is possible. The delay in 5G deployment is a crucial step towards finding a solution that prioritizes both safety and innovation. With ongoing collaboration and technical assessments, the United States can join the growing list of countries where 5G and airlines coexist without issue.

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