MALACAÑANG on Thursday said American semiconductor company Texas Instruments, Inc. (TI) is considering an investment of up to $1 billion for the expansion of its facilities in Clark City and Baguio City in northern Philippines, in light of a potential global chip shortage.

The company is set to submit in two weeks an application covering the expansion of its Clark and Baguio City sites, the palace said in a statement, citing US officials present during President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s Wednesday meeting with the US-ASEAN Business Council.

The company’s plan aligns with the United States’ $280-billion CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, aimed at enhancing America’s research and semiconductor manufacturing.

The law is expected to help the US in maintaining its position in nanotechnology, clean energy, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence.

The palace said that the company took into account the anticipated “shortage of chips in the global economy.”

The global chip shortage, which affects various products such as smartphones, computers, cars, home appliances, among others, is anticipated to have significant impacts on the broader economy.

The increasing reliance on chips has escalated tensions between the US and China, with the latter being one of the world’s major producers of what experts refer to as the “brains” of electronic devices

“These are areas and sectors in the economy that we would like to be involved in,” Mr. Marcos said during the meeting with company officials as he welcomed the investment plans.

Mr. Marcos said that the Philippines has implemented a comprehensive program for upskilling and reskilling its workforce to adapt to emerging trends in the labor market.

Sean Fredericks of RS Asia-Pacific earlier told BusinessWorld that the Philippines could be a major player in the global semiconductor industry, citing the country’s English-proficient population and supposed adherence to intellectual property protection.

Semiconductors accounted for $35 million of the Philippines’ $45.66 worth of electronics product exports in 2022.

Mr. Fredericks said the Philippines should take the ongoing chip dispute between the US and China as an opportunity to solidify its position in the industry.

He noted that many US manufacturers are now moving away from China “to balance their risk.”

“The ongoing US-China dispute hopefully presents the Philippines with some new opportunities for business,” he said.

Mr. Fredericks said the government needs to address inadequate infrastructure such as power supply, roads, and networks and the shortage of engineers and technicians to boost the Philippines’ participation in the semiconductor industry. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza