Qualcomm is open to working with foundry partners in Europe, CEO says

Semiconductor supplier Qualcomm is open to working with foundries in Europe if incentive programmes to boost automotive chip production on the continent attract the right partners, Chief Executive Cristiano Amon said.

Foundries in Europe are now geared towards mass production of semiconductors, Amon told Reuters at the IAA car show in Munich, but there is a welcome debate under way about investing in high-end production that is interesting to Qualcomm.

To tackle a chip shortage that has hit Europe’s carmakers and exposed its dependence on Asia, the EU is pushing for multibillion-dollar investments to double the continent’s share of global chip production over the next decade.

Also at the Munich car show, U.S. chipmaker Intel flagged investments of up to 80 billion euros ($95 billion) over the next decade in two major European chip plants, with details to be announced by the end of this year.

Intel will also open up its semiconductor plant in Ireland for automakers, CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a keynote speech.

Most of Qualcomm’s manufacturing is aimed at leading-edge technology, with the majority of foundries in that area located in Taiwan, South Korea and the United States, Amon said, adding it was in full support of the EU plans to attract foundries.

The California-based group, the world’s No.1 supplier of key semiconductors in mobile phones, has been pushing into the car sector with chips that can power dashboards and infotainment systems at the same time.

Qualcomm’s commitment to the car sector is also reflected by a recent $4.6 billion bid for Swedish auto parts maker Veoneer Inc, which Amon said had been well received by the industry.

This week, Qualcomm announced a deal with France’s Renault, which followed an agreement with General Motors earlier this year.

Qualcomm works with all major global foundries, or contract manufacturers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Samsung Electronics, GlobalFoundries and Semiconductor Manufacturing International.


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