The majority of the huge expansion of FDI into semiconductors over the past decade has been driven by three companies, namely US-based Intel, Taiwan’s TSMC and South Korea’s Samsung Group, according to figures from greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets.

Severe chip supply constraints highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with government efforts to domesticate this strategic industry have led to massive investment into semiconductors, which are essential components to all electronic devices in use today.


Since the beginning of 2021, more than $175bn has been pledged to FDI projects in the semiconductor sector, with the majority going towards highly capital-intensive new foundries to produce microchips, according to fDi Markets. This announced capital expenditure was about 60% of the total invested over the past decade. 

Governments around the world have pushed to domesticate the semiconductor industry and woo chipmakers to set up production facilities through generous incentives. This is most noticeable in the US, where $52bn has been pledged to boost the domestic supply chain. Meanwhile, India has paid out $10bn to help develop local chip fabrication plants (fabs) and encourage research and innovation in the sector. 

Who are the top investors in the semiconductor industry?

Almost two-thirds (62%) of the $290bn pledged to global cross-border semiconductor projects in the past decade was accounted for by just 20 companies, according to fDi Markets. Among these chip companies, the three industry heavyweights – Intel, TSMC and Samsung – account for the lion’s share of capital expenditure.

Intel, the Silicon Valley company founded in 1968 by semiconductor pioneers Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce, was the leading global investor in projects outside its home market. The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker pledged more than $65bn to FDI projects over the past decade. 

This included plans to invest €33bn in manufacturing across Europe into a new fab in Magdeburg, Germany and to upgrade its existing facilities in Leixlip, Ireland. The $65bn FDI figure does not include Intel’s domestic investments in the US, such as its plans to invest at least $20bn into a chipmaking campus near to Ohio’s state capital Columbus.


TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, came in at a close second with $53.7bn-worth of announced FDI projects since 2013. The Taiwanese company, founded in 1987 by industry titan Morris Chang, has continued to invest to maintain its leadership as a semiconductor foundry that produces chips for other companies’ designs.

Most of TSMC’s FDI is thanks to two fabs it is building in Arizona’s state capital Phoenix, which involve a total investment of $40bn and are expected to produce more than 600,000 wafers per year once complete.

The third most active investor was another south-east Asian company: South Korea’s Samsung. Similar to TSMC, it has expanded its capacity in the US by building a $17bn fab in the Texan town of Taylor. Samsung, the world’s largest memory chimaker, has pledged a total of $26.8bn to FDI projects since 2013.

The fourth largest investor was Vedanta Resources. In September 2022, the London-listed mining company announced plans to team up with Taiwan’s Foxconn to invest $19.5bn to build one of India’s first semiconductor manufacturing complexes

Given that Vedanta will hold a 63% stake in the chipmaking venture, the FDI figure was totally assigned to Vedanta. Meanwhile, Foxconn was the sixth largest investor with $9.4bn pledged to chip projects outside Taiwan.

US memory chipmaker Micron Technology was the fifth largest investor. It has pledged about $12bn to FDI projects. This includes its plans to build a Y800bn ($7bn) factory at its site in Hiroshima, Japan.

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Where are semiconductor companies investing?

The semiconductor was invented in the US. But over several decades manufacture has become a global industry, with a particular concentration in south-east Asian countries, namely Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan.

Over the past 20 years, fDi Markets has tracked cross-border semiconductor projects in 67 countries. Between 2003 and 2020, the world’s top destination country for semiconductors FDI was China, having attracted a total of $96.7bn-worth of projects, double that of the US over the same period.

But that situation has flipped in recent years. Since 2021, the US has attracted $52bn-worth of semiconductor FDI, while China has seen just $6.5bn, according to fDi Markets. While this data does not take into account investments made by companies in their home countries, it clearly shows the surge of capital pledges made across the world. Other destinations for recent capital-intensive chip FDI projects include India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Germany.