£38 million compound semiconductor facility to be built in Newport

Plans have been announced to build a state-of-the-art, £38 million compound semiconductors foundry in the Welsh city of Newport.

The ten councils of the Cardiff City Region are to work together on creating a world-leading technology cluster in Newport, creating more than 2000 jobs.

It’s to be supported by the £1.2 billion City Deal and new plans to turn Wales into a global centre of compound semiconductor expertise.

A staggering £12 million is to come from the Welsh Government, and the creation of the facility is expected to attract up to £365 million in investment from the private sector.

The Foundry, when opened, will lease space to companies working in CS manufacturing and applications development. Discussions on site location are currently on-going.

Compound semiconductors are essential in a range of technologies, including wireless, smart phones, power stations, new imaging devices and driverless cars.

The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said that the project is a major coup for South East Wales and that it’ll help generate thousands of high-quality jobs in the area.

“I am delighted our initial £12m investment has kick-started the creation of the world’s first compound semiconductor industry cluster in Newport,” he said on the announcement.

“Our support for the Institute for Compound Semiconductor Technology has been widely recognised as the catalyst for developing this world-leading cluster, which is expected to create more than 2,000 well paid jobs and be the cornerstone of a truly transformative project for the area.

“Today’s major investment puts Wales at the cutting edge of this exciting technology, which has the ability to change the way we live. This is great news for Wales – and the first of many new exciting projects set to make a real difference to the economy of South East Wales.”

Cardiff University, which recently opened its own compound semiconductors facility, welcomed the local authorities’ decision to help develop this pioneering cluster.

Professor Colin Riordan, vice chancellor of Cardiff University, said: “Compound Semiconductors are at the heart of our everyday lives, and are found in everything from phones and tablets to satellite communications and laser technologies.”

“The University has invested millions of pounds in partnership with IQE, and today’s announcement is excellent news for innovation, industry and enterprise in South Wales and beyond.”

“It offers a real opportunity to build Europe’s first Compound Semiconductor applications cluster and create a world-class powerhouse to commercialise next generation technologies.”