Brazil Hopeful that Its First Chip Plant Will Draw New Foreign Industries

    In a few months Brazil should have its first chip (integrated circuit) factory ever. The plant, which should be in operation by April 2006, is also Latin America’s first factory of its kind.

    The plant will be located in the southernmost Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul and will produce 85% of the technology that exists today in semi-conductors.

    The chips to be manufactured by the unit may be used in many industrial segments, from the production of computers to television sets, cellular phones, automobiles and washing machines.

    The only technology, in the area of semi-conductors, that the factory won’t produce will be capacity memory, like pen drives and micro-controllers, which are the brain of the computers. The unit will work throughout the chain, from research to manufacture.

    The project for the factory is by the Excellency in Advanced Electronic Technology Center (Ceitec), of Porto Alegre, capital city of Rio Grande do Sul, and will have an implementation cost of US$ 84.6 million. The money will come from sectorial funds.

    The factory will work in the city of Porto Alegre, in a complex of 13,659 square meters. In the complex, as well as the industrial unit, there will be an operational center and a research center.

    The factory should make the state a reference in the field of microelectronics in Brazil. According to information from the president of Ceitec, Sérgio Dias, Brazil imports today US$ 3 billion per year in microelectronic products.

    According to remarks made by the minister of Science and Technology, Sérgio Rezende, the initiative will be important for the industries that have to buy the chips abroad. "It will also serve to show that Brazil has human resources and technology in the field of microelectronics, which will end up influencing the installation of other companies," he said.

    The Ceitec, which is taking the project ahead, is a center of excellency in electronic technology created from a partnership between the federal, state and municipal governments with teaching and research institutions and entrepreneurial entities, especially from the Rio Grande do Sul. As well as the state in the South of Brazil, Minas Gerais, in the Southeast, also has a project in entrepreneurship in the field of semi-conductors.

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    • Mario A. Portillo

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