(Bloomberg) -- ASM International plans to invest $324 million (€300 million) in a new US headquarters in Arizona, furthering its international expansion in a state with an already-booming semiconductor economy.
The Dutch manufacturer of chipmaking gear is set to hire 500 people for the new facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, on top of more than 800 it already employs in the state. The company has had its US headquarters in Phoenix since 1976.
The move is part of a continuing push to expand ASM’s footprint around the world, even as growth slows in the chip industry. Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Loh said the company plans to keep hiring in 2024, though not as quickly as in recent years. “The big wave of hiring, you could say, is behind us,” he said in an interview.
Loh is visiting Arizona this week as part of a Dutch delegation that includes Prime Minister Mark Rutte and a cadre of chip executives. ASM’s Scottsdale announcement adds to more than $60 billion in semiconductor projects in Arizona since 2020, including massive facilities under construction by Intel Corp. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.
Those commitments have made the Phoenix region a hot spot for the US chip industry as President Joe Biden’s administration prepares to dole out semiconductor subsidies valued at $100 billion. The money from the 2022 Chips and Science Act aims to boost domestic manufacturing of critical electronic components and wean the US off Asian supply chains that Washington worries pose a national security risk.
Loh said ASM is evaluating whether the company is eligible for US incentives that are geared toward smaller supply-chain investments, as opposed to large-scale manufacturing. The Commerce Department opened a portal accepting proposals last week and will take submissions through Feb. 1.
Industry officials say that one of the biggest threats to the US effort is a lack of engineers, computer scientists and technicians. Chip companies could struggle to fill almost 60% of the roughly 115,000 jobs they are slated to add by 2030, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.
ASM will focus on trying to lure research and development and software engineers, Loh said. He acknowledged that it’s a competitive market for those kinds of employees.
“So far, we have been able to get our fair share,” Loh said. But with the new hiring push, “we will probably have to step up our efforts to do even more.”