GlobalFoundries shifts HQ from Silicon Valley to join its tip-top chip fab in New York

Empire State plant pledges to alleviate semiconductor shortage


US chip maker GlobalFoundries will move its headquarters from Santa Clara, California, to Malta, New York, to be closer to its most advanced plant, Fab 8.

The move was announced on Monday by CEO Tom Caulfield and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

“GF’s Fab 8 in New York is a $15bn advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility and one that is playing a key role in the transformation of our industry to meet rapidly accelerating demand,” Caulfield said in a statement. “As a native New Yorker, son of a NYC firefighter, and manufacturer at heart, I am personally proud to be making upstate New York GF’s new headquarters.”

“Our amazing 3,000-person workforce, in partnership with our local, state, and federal leaders, will together build on GF’s success, solidifying the Empire State’s place as one of a few world-class semiconductor manufacturing hubs at a time when our national and economic security depends more and more on what we can make here at home.”

America and the rest of the world is experiencing a crunch in semiconductor supplies, a knock-on effect from companies hoarding stock and from increased demand of personal laptops, cloud servers, and other devices and computers during the coronavirus pandemic. President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order promising to examine weak points in the country’s semiconductor supply chains, and has urged Congress to sign a bill investing $50bn into US chip R&D and manufacturing.

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FROM THE ARCHIVE

Schumer has been vocal in getting the government to increase spending on technologies critical to national security, and said he helped GF secure a deal to manufacture 45nm SOI chips for the Department of Defense.

“I have long advocated for GF as a key supplier of chips to our military and intelligence community, including pressing the new Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, to further expand the Department of Defense’s business with GF, which will help expand their manufacturing operations and create even more jobs in Malta,” the senator said in a previous statement.

Schumer also introduced the Endless Frontiers Act earlier this month, which if passed would forge a new unit in the National Science Foundation focusing on emerging technologies, including AI, quantum computing, and semiconductors. The new Technology and Innovation Directorate would receive $100bn over five years to invest in research. Another $10bn would be given to the Department of Commerce to support at least 10 regional technology hubs, too.

“I would like to thank Senator Schumer for his steadfast support for GF over the years and his tireless leadership in forging a bipartisan coalition in Congress that together with the Administration fully appreciates the need for a secure and resilient domestic semiconductor supply chain,” Caulfield said.

“The time for the Endless Frontier Act is now, and once approved by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, GF stands ready to do our part by expanding in upstate New York and creating many more high-paying American jobs. Our ambitious goal is to double our capacity at this site in the years to come in partnership with our customers, local, state and federal governments. We can do this.”

It's possible GF may have another crack at developing 7nm chips again. In 2018, it abandoned plans to pursue its 7nm process node, which requires expensive lithography equipment. The company’s most notable customer is AMD. And although AMD’s 7nm chips are manufactured by TSMC, AMD has agreed to stick with GF for chips larger than the 7nm process node. “All future obligations of AMD and [GF] with respect to any Process Nodes smaller than or equal to the 7nm Process Node” have been removed,” states an agreement between the pair. ®

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