| TEL AVIV
TEL AVIV Feb 17 Intel's Israeli
subsidiary more than doubled its exports in 2012 to $4.6 billion
and is seeking to bring manufacturing of the company's next
generation of chips to Israel.
Intel's exports, which rose 109 percent from $2.2 billion in
2011, were boosted by the start of production of chips using 22
nanometre technology at its Kiryat Gat plant in southern Israel,
which is now operating at full capacity.
Intel, the world's No. 1 chipmaker, will build chips over
the next two to three years with features measuring just 14 nm
in Ireland and the United States but the company is already
thinking about where it will produce 10 nm chips. The narrower
the features, the more transistors can fit on a single chip,
Intel Israel executives said they would like to see 10 nm
production in Israel.
"The average life of a technology is two to six years so we
need to be busy to get the next technology, 10 nanometre,"
Maxine Fassberg, general manager of Intel Israel, told a news
conference on Sunday. "We need to get a decision far enough in
advance to be able to upgrade the plant. So for 10 nanometre,
decisions will need to be made this year."
Fassberg said upgrading the existing Fab 28 plant in Israel
would require a lower investment than building a new plant but
would still involve several billion dollars.
Intel Israel has in the past received government grants to
help with the costs of its investments and Fassberg told Reuters
the company was "constantly in talks with the government".
Intel has invested $10.5 billion in Israel in the past
decade, including $1.1 billion in 2012, and has received $1.3
billion in government grants.
The company accounted for 20 percent of Israel's high-tech
exports last year and 10 percent of its industrial exports,
"If Intel had not increased its exports, Israel's high-tech
exports would have shrunk by 10 percent," Intel Israel President
Mooly Eden said.
Most of Intel Israel's exports - $3.5 billion - came from
its chip manufacturing activities.
Intel is Israel's largest private employer, with 8,542
workers, up 10 percent from 2011. The company has two plants -
in Jerusalem and Kiryat Gat - as well as four research and
Eden said Intel was also committed to investing in
start-ups, having invested in 64 Israeli companies since 1996.
In July its global investment arm Intel Capital said it would
expand its operations in Israel.