AMD opening shop in the Middle East?

It looks like AMD and Globalfoundries are going to set up shop in Dubai after taking a hefty chunk of change from an investment firm based in the emirate. AMD CEO Dirk Meyer told Emirates Business that the firm is looking to a open chip design center in Dubai, and maybe a fabrication plant in Abu Dhabi.

“We have chip design centers around the world, including in India and China, and the capabilities by Dubai Silicon Oasis present interesting future opportunities. In time we will [design chips in the UAE], and it’s hard to be specific on the time frame. There is a definite opportunity in such a partnership,” said Meyer.

The Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) is a proposed massive integrated technology park intended to create a Silicon Valley for the Middle East to lure offices for the major players in the semiconductor industry, except this would be design on the large scale like everything else in Dubai. The intention is to provide a giant “technology oasis” for all of these firms, with housing, commercial and other considerations all close to work.

But the first priority is a new Globalfoundries fab in Abu Dhabi. “The top priority for AMD is to deepen our partnership with ATIC and Globalfoundries, which continues to expand its partner pool to make sure that infrastructure in Abu Dhabi gets ready for a fabrication plant in the future,” said Meyer.

Meyer went on to say that “as a company, we will want to participate fully in the market through our sales and marketing team and make sure people are IT savvy. Acquisitions are not on the agenda presently but could be a possibility over a period of time.”

Such talk and interest is not surprising, given Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) owns approximately two-thirds of Globalfoundries’ fully-converted common stock and a large chunk of AMD as well. AMD might be bankrupt by now were it not for the ATIC bailout. ATIC’s sole shareholder is the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, making it a state-owned investment firm.

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