Poland seeks increased Taiwanese chip investment as significant subsidies potentially await

Misha Lu, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

Poland is expected to play a greater role in driving Central Europe's tech industry forward as Warsaw awaits a new government in December. Donald Tusk. a veteran Polish politician who served as the country's Prime Minister between 2007 and 2014 before serving as President of the European Council from 2014 to 2019, led his party Civic Platform to victory at Poland's national election in October, will return as Prime Minister, forming a government together with two smaller opposition parties in December. According to a source from the Polish political circle, the incoming government will seek to further strengthen Poland's role in the global high-tech value chain, and a subsidy package potentially worth billions is anticipated to attract and consolidate foreign investment in the Polish high-tech industry, especially when it comes to semiconductors.

The Central European country came to prominence as an up-and-coming semiconductor powerhouse following Intel's June announcement to build an advanced packaging facility in the city of Wrocław, marking one of the largest greenfield investments the country has seen. In Gdańsk, Intel has been operating its largest R&D facility in the European Union since 1999, with expansion to be completed this year (2023). In November, the outgoing government established a program dedicated to supporting strategic semiconductor investment in Poland, aiming to cover the entire value chain from chip design to production. In the period between 2024-2026, the program titled National Framework for Supporting Strategic Semiconductor Investments (Krajowe Ramy Wspierania Strategicznych Inwestycji Półprzewodnikowych) will provide funding amounting to US$1.5 billion.

In Poland's quest, Taiwan naturally becomes a key partner. Back in SEMICON Taiwan in September 2023, Grzegorz Piechowiak, Poland's Minister of Economic Development and Technology, observed that a new European semiconductor hub is taking shape within the Dresden-Prague-Wrocław triangle as a result of the planned TSMC fab in Germany, while Polish industrial and governmental sources to point to a possible TSMC advanced packaging facility in Poland. Universal Scientific Industrial Co. (USI), a major Taiwan-based player in semiconductor packaging, acquired its first manufacturing facility in Poland in 2018 and undertook the construction of its second factory in Kobierzyce in June. MediaTek, meanwhile, set up an R&D facility in Warsaw in early 2023. In anticipation of a major subsidy package next year, sources from the Polish political circle informed DIGITIMES Asia that Warsaw is seeking deeper engagement with Taiwan's high-tech supply chain, with talks already underway.

Cyryl Kozaczewski, director of the Polish Office in Taipei, pointed out in a previous interview with DIGITIMES Asia that Poland is the largest EV lithium-ion battery manufacturer in the EU while being the biggest manufacturer of electric buses in the bloc. As one of the major hydrogen producers in Europe, Poland is also seeking to build an industry oriented around green technologies. Together with its vibrant photonics and defense ecosystems, these sectors are expected to see deeper cooperation between Taiwan and Poland.

Meanwhile, Tusk has already begun talks with EU leaders to fast-track more than EUR34 billion worth of pandemic recovery funds, namely EUR22.5 billion in grants and EUR11.5 billion in loans, currently frozen by the European Union because of political disputes. If the former European Council President successfully unlocked the money, it will certainly inject a welcomed momentum in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region, especially as Germany's recent financial circumstances have created an air of uncertainty around its semiconductor investment.