At Bercy, we do not hide his satisfaction. On the occasion of the opening of the Choose France summit on 11 July, an annual meeting dedicated to since 2018 the attractiveness of France, the most important announcement of this 2022 edition was negotiated by the Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire. It is a joint investment of the French STMicroelectronics and the American GlobalFoundries for an amount of 5.7 billion euros, with the key to a thousand direct and even more indirect jobs. Eventually, in 2026, this should allow the Crolles (Isère) site to double its electronic component manufacturing capacity, from 550,000 parts to 1.2 million. In this case, FD-SOI components, with low energy consumption, particularly useful in situations of mobility.
The negotiations have been underway for several months. “This is one of the most difficult negotiations I’ve ever had to conduct”explains Mr. Le Maire, who believes this to be the‘”the most strategic investment in France after the nuclear one: without semiconductors there is no industry in the 21stAnd century “. The idea is not only to increase production, but also in the future to produce components below 10 nanometers. A technology not developed in France, at risk of dependence on other nations.
To achieve his goals, the tenant of Bercy has multiplied the meetings with the management of GlobalFoundries, also in the United States, and Tom Caufield, CEO of the American company, was even received by the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, who is also involved in this file. Discussions remained secret for nearly two years. With the Covid-19 crisis, and the resulting shortages, semiconductors, particularly important in the automotive and aeronautics sectors, have been identified as a strategic sector. For a time, discussions also took place with Intel, without success. Finally, the company preferred Germany to France for its European site.
In the STMicroelectronics-GlobalFoundries dossier, competition was fierce even among European states, but the aid provided by France, in particular with the France 2030 plan, finally convinced the American group.
change of foot
As for the executive, we assume the change of gear of the top of Choose France. In the beginning, the event honored the major digital companies (Google, Facebook). Today, “There is a reorientation towards industrial sovereignty”, admits Le Maire, who believes that France is now, with Germany, the other semiconductor heavyweight in Europe.
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