The Spanish government has hinted that it will invest €11bn in developing microchips and semiconductors as part of an effort to boost its economy.
The announcement came during a press conference at the ‘Wake Up, Spain’ conference held earlier this week when prime minister Pedro Sanchez announced, without details, that the country needed to revamp its economy.
To do this, he said he and his cabinet planned to release a plan soon. It would, reported Mobile World Live, put Spain ‘at the vanguard of industrial and technological progress’. Funding for the plan appears to originate through funding from the European Union.
“Semiconductors are essential elements in all energy sectors and acquire global geostrategic importance in the context of digital transformation,” The Local Spain reported Sanchez as saying.
He reportedly added: “Receiving the funds was the first of the challenges, but the important challenge now is to execute [the measures] quickly and efficiently.”
Bloomberg wrote of the announcement: “The chips are key for Spain’s auto industry, which is Europe’s second-largest, representing about 10% of gross domestic product. Policy makers across the continent are racing to put in place plans to invest in chips and cut reliance on imported technology. The European Union aims to become a key semiconductor maker with a goal of producing a fifth of the world’s supply by 2030.”
The news comes a few weeks after we wrote here on Expert Investor about Intel’s plans to boost Europe’s semiconductor production through an investment of up to €80bn. While Spain was mentioned by Intel in its plans, it was the last country on a list that put Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Poland before it.
The initial phase of the plan will see Intel develop two first-of-their-kind semiconductor fabrication plants in Magdeburg, Germany. Planning will start immediately, with construction expected to begin in the first half of 2023 and production planned to come online in 2027, pending European Commission approval.
Heavy investment across Europe in computer chips and semiconductors is hardly a surprise, given the chokehold their shortage has caused on auto manufacturing in recent months. In January, Toyota cut its annual production target from nine million vehicles to 8.5 million, citing the worldwide shortage. That news came in parallel with the European Commission laying out plans for its European Chips Act, which the body said would bolster ‘competitiveness, resilience and help achieve both the digital and green transition’.