Welsh Government announces plan to expand Newport’s compound semiconductor cluster

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The Welsh Government has announced that it plans to expand the compound semiconductor cluster in Newport following a successful trade mission to California’s Silicon Valley.

According to the Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, the Welsh Government is working with the SPTS division of KLA Corporation – a division that provides wafer processing solutions to semiconductor and microelectronic device manufacturers – to support its plans to expand its operations as part of an already announced $100m investment.

The company, which currently employs over 550 people, is developing its new base at Newport’s Celtic Lakes, which is home to a cluster of companies including Vantage, Europe’s largest data centre, IQE, and the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult.

Gething met the chief executive and other members of the executive team of KLA, during a recent Welsh Government-led trade visit to California’s Silicon Valley, where he reiterated the Welsh Government’s commitment to the sector.

The Welsh Government’s plans include work to upgrade infrastructure on the Celtic Lakes site, skills development to ensure a continued pipeline of talented staff are available to take up new jobs in the sector, and to develop local supply chains – helping to ensure other local companies benefit.

Following the trade visit, the Welsh Government is also calling on the UK Government to prove its commitment with a fully funded plan for the future of the sector that drives up growth, reduces consumer costs and strengthens security at home.

The Minister warned that the UK is falling behind the ambitious mission set in the USA, which is a national priority for the Biden Administration.

“We are serious about backing a semiconductor sector that will drive up growth, create jobs and lower costs for consumers.  Wales is a global player in the industry that deserves the backing of UK plc as a whole,” said Gething. “Newport’s compound semiconductor and technology cluster supports hundreds of well-paid jobs in an industry that powers the technologies people across the globe rely on to live their lives.”

Gething also called on the new UK Government Department for Science, Innovation and Technology to publish a long-awaited comprehensive and fully funded semiconductor strategy to support the sector, and UK jobs.

“It’s time for the UK Government to get on the pitch with a plan that matches the commitment of our global partners. The new Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology has a great opportunity to bring forward some good news and much needed certainty for the industry by publishing a new strategy that’s fit for the future.”