LONDON — Intel Corporation plans to invest $5 billion over the next two years to upgrade its fab in Kiryat Gat in Israel from 22nm to 10nm technology.

There was no official announcement from Intel, but Israel’s ministry of finance said in a statement that approval is expected from Israel’s government bodies in weeks and that the new plant will employ an additional 250 people. Intel had apparently considered several possible expansion sites but, after two years of discussion with Israel’s finance ministry, decided to expand its site in the country.

Intel has been a major employer in Israel, starting with five employees in Haifa in 1974, and has invested about $11 billion since then. Now the company employs 10,000 people in the country directly, with 60% of employees in research and development.

Intel Kiryat Gat plant

At its recent venture capital arm’s global summit in California, Intel Capital’s Yair Shoham was reported to be considering several significant investments in Israel this year, having already invested in six companies in 2018. It is thought to have invested some $375 million in about 80 Israeli startups since 1997 and had 28 exits, including Anobit, the flash memory controller company sold to Apple in 2012. This month, Intel Capital participated in a $10 million round led by MegaChips in Israeli Gfast chipset supplier Sckipio Technologies. [Gfast is an ultrafast broadband technology, which is anything over 100 Mbps].

— Nitin Dahad is a European correspondent for EE Times.