Game consul packages and high-end microchips may not be what first comes to mind when thinking of the Emirates – unless you are at the GlobalFoundries facility in New York, the second largest global microchip producer, owned by Mubadala.
Yesterday, almost 10,000 kilometres from Abu Dhabi in Malta, New York state, the chief executive of Mubadala, Khaldoon Al Mubarak, and the UAE Ambassador to the US, Yousef Al Otaiba, celebrated a US-UAE shared vision in investment, economic diversification and pioneering high technology.
Their visit to the US$15 billion (Dh55.1bn) microchip plant, one of 10 owned by Globalfoundries worldwide, highlighted the company’s successes, including developing the most advanced chip technology.
The Mubadala delegation included Mussabeh Al Kaabi, chief executive of petroleum and petrochemicals, and Ahmed Al Idrissi, chief executive of technology, manufacturing and mining at the investment company.
New York congressman Paul Tonko, and UAE Consul General in New York, Majid Al Suwaidi, also attended along with executives from GlobalFoundries and representatives from the local community in Albany.
After a tour of the plant and a presentation on its latest innovations, Mr Mubarak lauded the facility as a major success story in UAE-US relations. He and Mr Otaiba were then presented with the latest Xbox game consul featuring an AMD chip produced at the plant.
“Construction of this facility was one of the largest building projects ever undertaken in the United States and today there are now almost 10,000 semiconductor manufacturing jobs in the Tech Valley,” Mr Mubarak said.
GlobalFoundries has hired more than 3,500 employees, and yielded 60,000 to 80,000 jobs in the New York state area.
He said the global giant was now manufacturing “the world’s most advanced semiconductors, truly the enabling technology of the modern age, and we are part of an unparalleled education and applied research ecosystem on our doorstep”.
“This morning, I witnessed the most sophisticated technologies producing the most advanced chips, for IBM, AMD, Qualcomm, and other companies” he said.
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He also highlighted Mubadala’s growing investments in the US, amounting to $36bn of direct investments in the US and a further $10bn in US funds and public stock. Globalfoundries represents “the largest component of our US footprint”, he said.
Mr Al Otaiba spoke of the broader picture and growing US-UAE trade that totalled $24.3bn last year.
“The US sent $20bn in exports to the UAE. Around $2bn came from New York, making it the third largest state for UAE-bound exports,” he said.
The relationship has created “thousands of high-value jobs here in upstate New York, and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the US”.
This growth, Mr Otaiba said, comes in part from the UAE’s increasingly diversified economy. Today, 70 per cent of the UAE’s GDP comes from non-oil activities, he said.
“Headlines you usually see from our region are all too often about conflict and destruction ... the UAE is building a different future,” he said.
A centrepiece of that future, he said, was investments like the one in Malta. “The most advanced chip technology in the world is being developed here, and it is being exported globally,” Mr Otaiba said.
Danny Sebright, president of the US-UAE business council, told The National that GlobalFoundries “is one of most important investments for the UAE in global markets in terms of value and quality high technology”.
He said such investment was not only critical to the UAE’s diversification plan in the long term but also, through its contracts with the US Defence Department, underscores American confidence in the UAE as a trusted partner.
GlobalFoundries was founded in 2009 and won a contract with the Pentagon in 2016 valued at more than $400m to provide sophisticated custom-built computer chips.
The tour of the facility was the first stop of Mr Mubarak’s visit to the US. From there he will travel to New York City, Washington DC, Louisiana, Texas, and California.