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GlobalWafers Launches $5B Facility

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GlobalWafers semiconductor facility. | Image by City of Sherman

On December 1, the city of Sherman, an hour’s drive north of Dallas, broke ground on a new $5 billion silicon wafer production facility to be operated by GlobalWafers. The city’s mayor, David Plyler, said the factory will help underscore “Sherman’s place as the technology hub of North Texas.”

According to the company’s website, GlobalWafers “produces advanced semiconductors for electronics” using their own “electronic-grade silicon” and maintains “R&D and manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.”

The latest project in Sherman will see the Taiwan-based manufacturer build a factory capable of producing cutting-edge 300-millimeter silicon wafers.

GlobalWafers Chairman and CEO Doris Hsu is excited about the new state-of-the-art facility. Hsu hopes the factory “will be not only the best and biggest of its kind in the U.S.” but also be included among the leading silicon wafer fabricators globally.

North Texas beat out Ohio and South Korea for potential development locations. Hsu said it was “because of the team” in Texas.

“We have a very strong management team in Sherman. They are so good. They were just so dedicated,” she said.

Once complete, the new facility is expected to produce 1.2 million wafers per month. The wafers are a critical component of the chips made by Dallas-based semiconductor designer and producer Texas Instruments.

The building of the new facility follows years of pandemic-related supply chain issues, often preventing American companies from procuring critical components, like semiconductors, for use in manufacturing. Since only 1% of global silicon is manufactured in the U.S., any overseas disruption can quickly shut down domestic chip manufacturing, said GlobalWafers President Mark England.

“We started to see that a distribution in a factory half a world away could actually put an auto worker out of a job here in the United States,” explained Dr. Ronnie Chatterji, a Senior White House Advisor for the CHIPS and Science Act, the largest publicly funded R&D program in the history of the U.S.

While the new production facility will benefit the entire country, Mayor Plyler is encouraged by the improvements the project is expected to net for Sherman, including adding hundreds of jobs to the city.

“It’s going to help us expand our infrastructure… It’s going to bring folks to our new neighborhoods,” he said.

Texas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, also present at the ground-breaking event at the beginning of the month, was similarly excited about the new build.

“[A]s we look around us, this is the future,” Johnson said.

The facility is expected to take between 18 and 24 months to complete, according to GlobalWafers. Once fully operational, the factory will employ 1,500 workers.

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