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Boise’s Micron says it wants to expand in the US as it adds operations in Asia

Boise-based chipmaker Micron Technology says it will spend as much as $150 billion in capital, research, and development in the next decade. And the company’s CEO says it hopes some of that investment will happen in the US — if it gets the right government incentives.

CEO Sanjay Mehrotra told the Wall Street Journal he hopes the US Congress will put into law measures that would provide incentives for more plant expansion in the country. Mehrotra said it costs 35-45% to manufacture in the US over some areas of Asia.

“We will be engaging with the governments around the globe, including in the U.S., to address our needs for growing our supply in line with our demand expectations for the 2030 era,” Mehrotra told the WSJ.

[Micron says racist vandalism & home protests ‘impact… our longevity’ in Idaho; Gov. Little responds]

The company operates a large plant in SE Boise along Interstate 84. The facility is largely dedicated to research and development. It runs another fabrication facility in Manassas, Virginia that produces some specialized chips for sale. But the bulk of Micron’s production happens overseas. The company provides chips for a wide array of devices, including laptops, smartphones, and more. Micron’s memory chips are inside many Apple iPhone devices.

Where to expand?

Micron’s chief business officer Sumit Sadana told Reuters only about two percent of memory chips are made domestically

“We certainly want to very seriously assess manufacturing in the US, because the US ought to have more than 2% of memory manufacturing for the sake of national security and for the sake of supply chain resiliency,” Sadana told the news agency.

On the same day Micron officials went to the national business press to push for tax breaks, Japanese newspaperNikkan Kogyo reported the chipmaker would build a $7 billion expansion to its plant in Hiroshima, according to Reuters.

Micron has made significant investment in the Boise facility, with $100s of millions in upgrades in recent years, as BoiseDev reported. It also opened a new non-manufacturing campus in San Jose, California in 2020, and announced a $3 billion expansion in Virginia.

Micron and JR Simplot Co. control significant land around the Boise chipmaker’s local plant. BoiseDev graphic

The company owns significant land adjacent to its Boise plant. In the 1990s, it considered building a so-called “fab” in Boise, but later decided to build in Lehi, Utah. It sold that site to Texas Instruments earlier this year.

Micron in Idaho

Last fall, BoiseDev reported on Micron’s use of an Idaho tax break signed in 2008 designed to lure French nuclear company Areva to the state. While Areva never moved to Idaho, Micron was able to take advantage of the legislation, which caps its property tax value. In 2019, the company paid $4.75 million in property taxes, about 23% of what it would have paid if paid taxes on the full value of its property.

Some legislators have raised questions about the impact of the cap – which through Idaho’s complicated property tax formula has been one factor in increases in residential property taxes in Ada County.

Last fall, after someone put stickers with swastikas on them on the Idaho Ann Frank Human Rights Memorial, Micron’s Boise site manager said incidents like that “impact our ability to recruit and retain talent and threaten our growth, prosperity, and longevity in Idaho.”

BoiseDev asked Gov. Brad Little about the comments later that same day.

“I don’t want Micron to leave,” he said. “But much more important than that – it speaks volumes about a certain segment of society that shouldn’t do what they’re doing. I condemned it.”

Micron did not comment on where it might expand in the US if it gets the legislation it hopes to see from congress.

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at don@boisedev.com.

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