Intel’s 20 billion matched by China

Private and national infrastructure investment shaming the US

Jon Peddie

By now, everyone and their pet robotic dog have heard about Intel’s big investment plans to spend $20 billion on new fabs, and setting up a merchant fab service to compete with TSMC, which Intel will also be buying parts from. You can read the details here.

As impressive as that is, even more, impressive is the report from Canalys that China invested $19 billion in 5G infrastructure in 2020 alone, after having spent $11 billion on it in 2019. They added 300 million new 5G subscribers and a million 5G base stations in just 2020. And, China now has over 1.3 billion 4G subscribers. According to the research firm, remote learning and working, as well as gaming, streaming, e-commerce, and other online services were key areas driving consumption of cloud infrastructure services in China throughout 2020.

The Biden administration is proposing a $3 trillion plan to fix and expand infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions. The American Society of Civil Engineers has given the country’s overall infrastructure a grade of D+, estimating that a funding gap of more than $2 trillion exists between needs and expected spending by all levels of government over the next decade. Given the political split and blatant lack of cooperation between the two warring parties, it’s unlikely, real progress will be made without significant overhauls to the process. If the situation stays as stagnant as it has been for the last 15 years, the US could slip into 2nd and then 3rd place as an advanced nation.