Micron Technology is considering building a new memory factory in the United States if it receives the support of state and federal subsidies, Reuters reported.
The Boise, Idaho-based company is the only American firm that makes both key types of memory chips, competing against South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix and Japan’s Kioxia, Toshiba’s former memory chip unit.
Micron has pilot manufacturing lines for developing new technologies at its Idaho headquarters and a factory in Virginia that turns out special high-reliability chips for automobiles. But its most advanced memory chips, which go into devices including PCs, phones and data centers, are made in Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.
Sumit Sadana, Micron’s chief business officer, told Reuters memory chips are about 30 percent of the global semiconductor market but only 2 percent are made in the United States.
“We want to very seriously assess manufacturing in the U.S., because the U.S. ought to have more than 2 percent of memory manufacturing for the sake of national security and for the sake of supply chain resiliency,” Sadana said in an interview.
The company has not settled on a country for building its next factory for advanced chips. The factories will require tools such as ASML Holdings’ extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines, which can cost more than $100 million each.
Micron plans to spend up to $12 billion in capital expenditure and $3 billion on research and development next year, and up to $150 billion over the next decade, Sadana said.
Micron estimates costs for memory manufacturing are 45 percent higher in the United States than in Asia, Sadana said.
Micron’s decision will depend on whether U.S. subsidies for buildings factories and investment tax credits for expensive tools – both of which are being debated in the U.S. Congress – are put in place.
Meanwhile, Micron Technology will build a new factory at its Japanese production site in Hiroshima at a cost of 800 billion yen ($7.0 billion), Nikkan Kogyo newspaper reported.
The new facility will make DRAM chips, which are widely used in data centres, with production set to begin in 2024.
Chip giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) announced plans to build a plant in Japan, that media reports said may be partly paid for by the Japanese government.
Micron, which also produces slower, but cheaper, NAND memory chips for the data storage market, makes 300 millimetre DRAM semiconductors at its plant in Hiroshima and has a research and development facility there.