ATIC to build $7 billion chip plant in Abu Dhabi

Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) is to spend $7 billion on building a new chip manufacturing plant in the United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi.

ATIC, a UAE government-owned firm, will make the substantial investment in a new fabrication facility that will produce 12-inch wafers. This will be the first chip manufacturing facility in the country, giving the region a major boost to its technology sector.

ATIC’s CEO, Ibrahim Ajami, revealed the news in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, saying that the new factory should be fully up and running by 2014 or 2015.

Ajami also stated that ATIC is on the lookout for other companies to acquire, both within and outside the chip manufacturing business. In 2009 it bought the Singapore-based Chartered Semiconductor firm for $1.8 billion. 

It is also jointly invested in Global Foundries with AMD, but the news that it wants to build its own production plant suggests it plans to expand its business and become more independent of and less reliant on its business partners.