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US government to give $75 million to South Korean company for Georgia computer chip part factory

computer chip
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

The federal government will spend $75 million to help build a factory making glass parts for computer chips in Covington, Georgia.

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced the investment Thursday in Absolics, part of South Korea's SK Group.

The plant was announced in 2021. The company said Thursday that it will spend more than $300 million on a first phase, with plans to hire 200 workers. The company could spend more money and hire more workers later, spokesperson Kelsey Flora said.

Construction is underway, and test batch production has begun, Flora said. Production is supposed to begin increasing in 2025.

The plant will make a glass substrate that is used to package semiconductors. Federal officials say the substrate will enable more densely packed connections between semiconductors, leading to faster computers that use less electricity.

The Department of Commerce said this is the first time the CHIPS and Science Act has been used to fund a factory making a new advanced material for semiconductors. The 2022 federal law authorized the spending of $280 billion to aid the research and manufacturing of semiconductors in the United States.

The technology was developed at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The SK Group hired a former researcher from the university to help commercialize the substrate.

"It is strategically essential that the United States have this domestic manufacturing capacity, and it's a tremendous opportunity for the state of Georgia to lead the nation in manufacturing and innovation," U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff told reporters on Thursday. The Georgia Democrat has supported the effort.

SK Group owns an adjoining plant that makes polyester films that can be used on solar panels, in packaging and for other uses. The Korean conglomerate also owns a $2.6 billion complex to make batteries for electric vehicles in Commerce, northeast of Atlanta.

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