MALTA — The owners of GlobalFoundries paid a visit to the Malta computer chip factory Monday to express thanks for the support that has built it into an industry leader, and to request support for its continued growth.
The delegation from Mubadala Investment Co. also planned visits in Albany and Washington, but in Malta it got a firsthand view of the impact Fab 8 has had. Some 3,300 people work at the $12 billion-plus facility.
Mubadala is a $200 billion investment fund wholly owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, the largest of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.
Its CEO, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, said it was “immensely exciting to hear of the impact on the regional economy.”
He credited the ecosystem here — a mutually dependent core of academic, research/development and manufacturing facilities surrounded by a network of related operations, with government support — for GlobalFoundries’ success: “You’re all part of the exciting journey,” he said.
Mubarak said he had seen the leading edge of technology in his tour of the facility, but added that the edge is a moving target: Competitors are advancing, and so must GlobalFoundries. By the end of 2018, he said, Fab 8 will produce smaller, more powerful chips that use less electricity.
“I am confident that the quality and depth of the ecosystem here, the committed workforce, and the regional and national government backing of Tech Valley will enable us to remain at the absolute forefront of this industry,” he said.
The Malta factory was built with more than $1 billion in direct subsidies from the state and millions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure improvements.
Additional taxpayer support may be sought if GlobalFoundries seeks to build a second chip factory on the Luther Forest site.
Center for Economic Growth President and CEO Andrew Kennedy said GlobalFoundries’ success is evidence of how well the Tech Valley school/lab/factory model works.
The visit by Abu Dhabi and United Arab Emirates officials Monday “demonstrates the importance Fab 8 has to the parent organization and the industry,” Kennedy said.
The large audience gathered for the visit, meanwhile, “demonstrates the importance that the business community and education community and politicians place on GlobalFoundries.”
Also in the audience was Mark Eagan, president and CEO of the Capital Region Chamber, who said he was impressed by the sheer size of the facility, not just physically but in the scale of its impact.
Mubarak said part of his visit would be to build political support in a time when foreign trade is a contentious issue.
While GlobalFoundries is a foreign company, its owner is a key U.S. ally in the Mideast and Fab 8 is a major asset to the U.S., he said.
“This is a major competitive advantage in the United States, one which has critical national security implications.
“The work being done for the Department of Defense in New York state really can be done by no other companies in this industry … a message I intend to give tomorrow and Wednesday when I visit Washington, D.C.,” Mubarak said.