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Spain to Invest $22 Billion in High-Tech Sectors

In an effort to boost Spain’s semiconductor and audiovisual industries, the country is set to launch a new state-owned technology investment company with a capital of €20 billion ($22 billion).

Digital Transformation Minister Jose Luis Escriva, announced the creation of the Spanish Society for Technological Transformation (SETT) Monday (Feb. 26) during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Reuters reported Monday.

The SETT will focus on promoting investments in strategic high-tech sectors such as telecommunications, providing consultancy services and helping to build infrastructure for the semiconductor industry, according to the report.

Additionally, the company aims to attract investors and technical know-how to public-private partnerships, the report said.

This initiative comes after the Spanish government announced in December its plan to acquire a stake in Telefonica as a counterbalance to Saudi Arabia’s STC, per the report. Escriva hinted that SETT might be used to secure that stake in Telefonica in the future.

The announcement of SETT comes a week after the U.S. Department of Commerce and the White House announced an award of $1.5 billion in direct funding to GlobalFoundries, the world’s third-largest contract chip maker and the only company of its size and scale to be headquartered in the U.S.

The federal funding comes from the $50 billion CHIPS and Science Act, which is meant to strengthen U.S. domestic supply chain resilience, bolster U.S. competitiveness in current-generation and mature-node semiconductor production, and support domestic economic and national security capabilities.

“Semiconductors are the brain of modern technology,” Vice President Kamala Harris said when announcing the funding. “While they are no larger than a fingernail and no thicker than a piece of paper, they are essential to every electronic device that we currently use — from computers and televisions to cars and washing machines.”

The demand for artificial intelligence (AI) chips is such that the dominant player in the market, Nvidia, saw its market value surge to $2 trillion on Thursday (Feb. 22), making it the third most valuable company in the U.S.

Nvidia dominates the chip market with a global market share of greater than 80% at a time when AI companies are concerned about a scarcity of expensive AI chips.