Micron breaks ground on $21b US chip plant, says more to come soon

SAN FRANCISCO – Micron Technology, the biggest US memory chip company, on Monday broke ground for a US$15 billion (S$21 billion) factory in Boise, Idaho, and its chief executive told Reuters an announcement of another new US plant will be coming soon.

“We are in final stages of another high-volume manufacturing site that is going to be announced in the coming weeks,” said CEO Sanjay Mehrotra.

Both plants will produce Dram chips that are widely used in data centres and personal computers and other devices.

Once operational, US plants will account for 40 per cent of Micron’s Dram production volume globally, up from 10 per cent today, Mr Mehrotra said.

The Boise factory will be operational in 2025, he added.

Micron said this will be the first new memory chip factory built in the United States in 20 years, and will create 2,000 Micron jobs by the end of the decade.

Since US President Joe Biden signed the Chips and Science Act, which provides US$52 billion to support home-grown semiconductor manufacturing, a slew of companies have announced plans to make chips in the US.

Intel on Friday broke ground on a US$20 billion factory in Ohio to build cutting-edge processor chips.

While Micron once made chips in Boise where it got its start, volume manufacturing has moved away and it has big production centres in places like Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.

The company’s core research and development operation has remained in Boise. Having manufacturing and R&D together will help accelerate the time to market, Mr Mehrotra said.

The CEO said the US investments do not represent a move away from Asian regions.

“This is not about divesting from manufacturing in any other part of the world, or bringing back manufacturing. This is about increasing,” he said.

“To meet the growing demand for memory, we have to increase our production,” he said, adding that the “Chips and Science Bill enables it to be increased here in the US”.

Micron has previously said it will be investing US$150 billion throughout the decade, US$40 billion of that in the US. Mr Mehrotra said the investment includes funds for R&D, the cost of which is increasing with advanced technologies. REUTERS