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Address by Prime Minister Stanislaw Tillich at the Laying of the Cornerstone for the Fab 1 Annex of Globalfoundries Dresden, 15 September 2010

[The spoken word is final]

Ladies and gentlemen,

Next year, the Saxon semiconductor industry is going to celebrate its 50th birthday. Back in 1961, the Lab for Molecular Electronics Dresden was founded. It became the nucleus of Silicon Saxony. Today, we look upon a great success story with a track record of nearly half a century.

The Fab 1 Annex of Globalfoundries opens up a new chapter in this success story. In future, Saxony is going to produce more microchips, to employ several hundred extra staff in the semiconductor industry, and to intensify micro and nanoelectronics research.

This said, Europe’s most important semiconductor location is gaining even more momentum. Even now, this momentum is quite considerable. Already, our Saxon microelectronics and ICT cluster comprises about 1,500 companies. Their 40,000 employees generate about 6 billion Euro in annual revenue.

Moreover, Silicon Saxony boasts a unique localization of labour in science and engineering. Industry and academic research form a closely-knit collaboration, stimulating each other. In this way, the entire place is pervaded by a creative atmosphere that entices scientists and industrialists from all over the world. Thus, Dresden has become the capital of the European semiconductor industry. Here are microchip development, design and manufacturing in one place.

This microelectronics know-how has benefited other industries. For example, Dresden has become the leading European hub of the organic semiconductor industry. Saxony is also leading the way in bionanomaterials. When this new technology leaves our labs, our know-how in bio and nanotechnology makes Dresden the first choice for the new bionano industry. This said, the expansion of Globalfoundries Dresden is going to provide a fresh stimulus to the neighbouring scientific establishments and high-tech industry outfits. Thus, Silicon Saxony is growing stronger and putting more muscle into the competition with locations in America and Asia.

That’s very good news for the Free State of Saxony and Germany. Moreover, this is a strategic advantage for Europe, Globalfoundries and indeed the world economy, since we all benefit from increased competition. This investment by Globalfoundries is a further step on the road to Europe’s becoming the leading knowledge-based economy in the world. Today, microchips are an integral part of any advanced industry product, be it a car, a machine, a medical device or a power plant. We in Saxony contribute towards this key enabling technology. So the Fab 1 Annex is going to strengthen Europe’s knowledge-based industries in the global race for leadership. In this competition, Globalfoundries has quickly turned out to be a true powerhouse.

Globalfoundries has formed a strong international alliance for success. The Dresden facilities are part of a network connecting Europe, North America, Asia and Arabia. Globalfoundries harnesses the best of these regions: American entrepreneurship, Saxon inventiveness, Asian industriousness, and Arabian sagacity.

Your Excellency, ATIC’s investments fall on fertile soil. Here, we have all the ingredients for success.

  • A highly qualified workforce,
  • excellent research institutions,
  • the close proximity of suppliers and services, fast-track government services and
  • smart political decisions to invest in infrastructure, science and technology.

Today, I am able to list these advantages quite matter-of-factly, as we have managed to set up a stable and dynamic semiconductor industry. However, just fifteen years ago only the boldest optimists would have considered that development a sure bet. Leafing through Silicon Saxony’s history book, we learn about the vast difficulties we had in the early 1990s. The Saxon government back then was trying hard to save the industry know-how and keep the labour in place for an investor that at first failed to materialize. Even eighteen months ago we could not be sure whether the success story of Silicon Saxony continues. Today, the chip factories are as much a landmark of Dresden as the Zwinger palace and the Semper opera.

And I promise that the Saxon state government will always go out of its way to support the growth of the semiconductor industry. For example, we are talking to the federal government and the EU commission to muster support for Saxony. Indeed, one upshot of these talks is the EU commission’s effort to produce a strategic industrial policy. We expect this means more support for Silicon Saxony and a more dynamic growth for Europe’s high technology sector.

Ladies and gentlemen, Globalfoundries claims to be a leader in fastest cycle times. This is an important asset, as cycle times are shrinking rapidly. Saxony makes a contribution to this leadership position, as we are able to bring in nearly half a century of industry experience.

My thanks go to Globalfoundries and their shareholders for their continued trust and investment in Saxony. I hope that the realisation of the Fab 1 Annex is as fast as all investment projects so far. I wish all the best to those who are involved in construction and equipping at this site. And the same goes for all other investment projects of Globalfoundries. As the first truly global foundry, Globalfoundries can only be successful when all global locations contribute.

Your Excellenyy, ATIC has understood the importance of this global approach. This is the reason for your investments in Dresden, Malta, New York, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. And this strategy also has given rise to an excellent idea: The Al Nokhba Summer Internship. Every summer since last year, students from the Emirates come here to learn about chip design and manufacturing at Globalfoundries, Dresden University of Technology, and other research institutes. This unique educational project is the beginning of Saxon-Emirati cooperation in science, business and education.

Today, we establish the Saxon-Emirati Committee. It will serve as a launching pad for more pathbreaking projects that bring our countries closer together. And I am very much looking forward to my visit to Abu Dhabi in November this year. Your Excellency, it would be a pleasure to meet you again in your native country.

Ladies and gentlemen, Globalfoundries draws highly skilled personnel from near and far. I am convinced that they will find Saxony a charming host country, beautiful, progressive and cosmopolitan. And I hope that they, like Globalfoundries, soon call Saxony their home.

I am proud that Saxony is part of Globalfoundries’ global success story. I wish it many, many new chapters throughout the next half century of Silicon Saxony.

Thank you very much.



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