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UK loses Intel chip factory consideration due to Brexit

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Intel Core i9-10900K review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Intel has been making big moves with chip factory developments both domestically and abroad.
  • The UK would have been considered for one of the company's chip factory projects, pre-Brexit.
  • Now, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger says the UK is off the table and that his company's focus is on the EU.

In a conversation with the BBC, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger stated that his company's chip factory plans would've considered the UK had it not been for Brexit.

"Post-Brexit... we're looking at EU countries and getting support from the EU," he said, making it clear that the (up to) $95 billion Intel will be investing in Europe over the next decade won't include the UK as a top priority.

"I have no idea whether we would have had a superior site from the UK," he continued. "But we now have about 70 proposals for sites across Europe from maybe 10 different countries."

Gelsinger went on to say that he's hoping plans for the upcoming developments start to solidify before the end of 2021 and that chip factory work can get underway. The desire for speed is a result of the global semiconductor shortage ravaging certain economies and industries while exacerbating tensions in situations such as the chipmaking war between the U.S. and China.

In his talk with the BBC, Gelsinger projected noticeable improvements in chip supply to be visible by 2023, when the market will hopefully stabilize. He also reiterated the importance of not over-relying on Asia for chips.

The chip shortage has affected a wide range of entities, from automakers to the manufacturers of the best graphics cards. There are a few alternative solutions being found for the current crisis, but they're not enough to singlehandedly solve the problem.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

19 Comments
  • There are upsides and downsides to all political moves. I'm sure they measured this as an outcome when they made their choices.
  • A quite optimistic view about rationality in human beings 'decision process
  • As with all decisions there will come the moment of reckoning.
    Obviously Brexit is far from being 'done' with, at the moment, more downsides becoming apparent than upsides.
    The Covid pandemic is still being used as a smokescreen but as it clears we can anticipate the problems associated with Brexit to become more clearly understood.
    As noted below in the comments it is obvious that the Conservative Party is ebulliently effervescent about the decision and the Labour Party seems to be keeping its powder dry so the moment of reckoning doesn't seem to be imminent.
    Thus there is still UK indecision so it is no wonder that, faced with a choice, Intel has made the 'safe' decision.
  • Yes, we all know how smart Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and David Cameron are. And all those Brexit voters. Very thoughtful people.
  • You are giving them way to much credit. UK trucking is short 100,000 truck drivers right now and they didn't see it coming. Many Bulgarians, Hungarians, Polish etc. who were driving the trucks headed back to the EU before they lost freedom of movement within the EU.
  • So Brexit potentially cost the UK being one of 11 countries who might have been considered as a place where a chip factory could have been built? From a guy who didn't even know if there were any sites that would have been suitable if the UK were still under consideration, which it might not have been anyway? Amazing investigative journalism from the BBC...
  • Yup! I think there's a word used for this sort of thing that's been floating around lately.....gaslighting. "Look at what those evil people did" based on a speculative opinion on something that was purely speculative in the first place. However, the claim that this was based on that political opinion will be the one that sticks.
  • You should probably look up the word 'gaslighting'.
  • This is the nature of probability. If you do or don't get a factory in one instance, it doesn't look like a pattern. Look at the situation over many decisions and things look differently. Of course, innumeracy is one of the big reasons so many people were duped into voting for Brexit in the first place.
  • The point is not that the UK lost an Intel chip factory. The point is that a global company didn't even consider the UK as a possibility. If you are trying to suggest that this is or will be an isolated incident then you're the one doing the gaslighting. How many companies will not consider the UK now, simply because they are not part of the EU? Are you suggesting that none of those would have turned into an actual concrete investment?
  • The government would not give them enough money to build their plant, that it comes down to, we had the same thing in my own little city, we will build a new shopping centre in your city if we can have the land for almost free, and you pay us some many for doing so and we will get the shops to come. Yeah, give them cheap rent for a few years. Now after about ten years, one of the largest buildings on there is empty, true the company went bankrupt, but no one is in a rush to take it on and when they do I suppose it will be cheap rent again for a few years It happens everywhere,
  • Brexit will go down as the ultimate example of a great idea terribly executed.
    Brexit as in "leaving the political union" was the right decision. But leaving the single market and all European agreements was really really dumb.
    Even countries that wisely don't want to join the EU - like Norway, Iceland or Switzerland - were still smart enough to join the EFTA or other free trade agreements to ensure they're still part of the only beneficial thing about the EU.
    But nah.
    Not the UK.
    They thought leaving the EU wasn't enough of a middle-finger to Brussels and, out of spite, they decided to leave everything because the EU didn't agree to let them have the cake and eat it.
    As a result, we see this.
    And it won't stop here.
    British small businesses have already gone into hard times because the taxes and customs fees, alongside the hiking in prices of couriers and other transportation businesses, have driven away most of their European customers. Investors will think twice before opening up factories in the UK since, well, exporting anything now will have additional costs both financial and bureaucratic. And manufacturers - like Intel - rather move production to the continent to avoid, at the very least, all the paperwork. At this point, Britain desperately needs a ruler with common sense and enough guts to swallow their pride and negotiate their re-entering into a proper Free Trade Agreement of some sort. Unfortunately...no such person is in charge of neither the Conservatives and much less the Labour Party.
    If none emerges soon...heck, have the Queen go to Parliament and dress down the whole lot on national television. Maybe the public shaming will make them come to their senses.
  • You don't state the reason why the UK is not being considered... Seems like the Europeans will be subsidising the building of these factories? Why is Brexit a factor? Please explain...
  • It's because of free trade agreements between countries in the E.U.
  • yeah look at how much trouble the UK is having moving goods across the border. What company would choose to have their product stuck in the UK?
  • My guess would be smaller companies that would prefer to sell primarily to the UK. And to build off of that, I would assume that was their intention. To foster growth within UK businesses instead of relying fully on international trade which could, in the future, bite them in the butt if another country starts to struggle in one way or another.
  • There has been very little disruption at borders... Despite the doom sayers...
  • OK. Let it be.
  • The current factories in Asia, the US, etc are not in the EU, what would being in the EU matter? So if the factory is now to be built in the EU, should we in the US throw up a bunch of trade barriers or something because its not built here?