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Intel Aims to Lead in AI Chips

Intel is reclaiming its title as the world’s leading chipmaker, a position it lost to TSMC and Samsung in recent years
June 6, 2024

In a bold move to reclaim its former glory as the world’s top chipmaker, Intel's CEO, Pat Gelsinger, has outlined the company's ambitious plans during the Computex tech conference in Taipei. Gelsinger's vision is clear: he wants Intel to be at the forefront of manufacturing chips for everyone, especially leveraging U.S.-based factories to achieve this goal.

"We aim to build everyone’s chips, particularly AI chips, right here in the U.S.," Gelsinger told CNBC. His comments come as Intel faces significant challenges, including a struggling foundry business that posted a $7 billion operating loss in 2023. The company, once the leader in the chipmaking industry, now finds itself trailing behind giants like TSMC and Samsung, according to a recent Counterpoint Research report.

Intel's decline in market dominance began in 2017 when Samsung surpassed it in revenue. More recently, in 2023, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) overtook Samsung to become the leading foundry by revenue. Gelsinger acknowledges that Intel’s losses are tied to its lagging process technology and sees a return to leadership as the first critical step.

A significant boost for Intel’s resurgence could come from the U.S. government's CHIPS and Science Act. The act promises up to $8.5 billion in funding, with an additional $11 billion potentially available. This funding aims to enhance Intel’s semiconductor manufacturing capabilities and R&D efforts. "This capital is vital for us to build competitive factories in the U.S.," said Gelsinger, emphasizing the importance of economic competitiveness enabled by the CHIPS Act.

Beyond manufacturing, Intel also aims to catch up with rivals Nvidia and AMD in the AI chip market. Companies like Meta, Microsoft, and Google have heavily invested in Nvidia’s AI chips, leaving Intel on the sidelines of this rapidly growing sector. To address this, Gelsinger unveiled the new Xeon 6 processor at Computex, designed for data centers with improved performance and energy efficiency. "The Xeon 6 is a significant leap forward, helping us regain lost market share and boost profitability," he noted.

Despite geopolitical tensions, China remains a crucial market for Intel. Gelsinger highlighted Intel's strategic investments in China, even as the U.S. government seeks to limit chip sales to the country. "China is a major market for us today, and we plan to ensure it remains so tomorrow," he stated, stressing the need to navigate legal landscapes while creating compelling products.

In this dynamic and highly competitive industry, Intel's roadmap under Gelsinger’s leadership represents a robust attempt to not only regain its footing but also to innovate and lead in new technological frontiers. By capitalizing on government support, advancing their technology, and strategically engaging global markets, Intel is positioning itself to reclaim its position at the pinnacle of the chipmaking industry.

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