the US Senate earlier this week passed the CHIPS law, which includes $52 billion to subsidize domestic semiconductor manufacturing. It still has to work its way through the bureaucracy (here’s a quick refresh), but the Senate approval is a huge and important step towards the US chip manufacturing industry getting a serious chunk of money.
Personally, I’m psyched that this can happen for a few reasons. Yes, yes – supply chain problems and chip shortages have been the bane of everyone’s lives for a long time, and making some of these manufacturing materials, tools and know-how onshore will go a long way in making the US less dependent on outside manufacturing and generally more resilient.
That’s all well and good, but let’s face it: $52 billion isn’t exactly a bag of copper and nickels, but chip manufacturing is. expensive. The last planned chip factories I can remember are the $19 billion factory Intel is building in Germany and the $20 billion factory the company is building here in the US. If that’s the price tag of a factory, the subsidy builds two and a half factories. That means jobs, but it won’t turn the US into a chip-fab juggernaut overnight.
Far more than new factories, I am most excited about the possibility of history repeating itself. Intel’s choice to build a $20 billion chip factory in Columbus, Ohio, along with more recent news of the industry’s potential cash injection, could pave the way for a startup ecosystem boost.