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QIA invests in French semiconductor fund Ardian

Workers at a semiconductor plant in the Netherlands. Qatar's investment in France's Ardian comes as global demand for semiconductor chips is surging Reuters/Piroschka van de Wouw
Workers at a semiconductor plant in the Netherlands. Qatar's investment in France's Ardian comes as global demand for semiconductor chips is surging
  • Qatari wealth fund makes tech push
  • Ardian oversees $164bn in assets
  • Industries facing global chip shortage

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, has announced plans to make an anchor investment in Ardian Semiconductor, a new entity established by the French private equity firm Ardian. 

The move underscores the Gulf state’s bet on the crucial role of semiconductors in powering digital and green transformations in key areas such as artificial intelligence, mobility and consumer technology.

While specific terms of the investment were not disclosed, QIA’s push into the tech space is part of a broader strategy to diversify Qatar’s economy. 

The sovereign fund last year acquired a minority stake in Kokusai Electric Corp, a Japanese semiconductor manufacturer.

Ardian oversees and advises on assets worth $164 billion. It says its aim is to become the preferred partner in the European semiconductor industry.

Global demand for semiconductors is surging, which Ardian said is projected to double over the next decade. A global chip shortage is squeezing industries from automotive to consumer tech.

Taiwan’s Foxconn, Apple’s biggest iPhone assembler and the world’s largest electronics maker, told Reuters in February it is facing a shortage of chips for AI servers.

The Semiconductor Industry Association forecasts a 13 percent jump in global chip sales to $595 billion in 2024.

According to an April report by S&P Global Market Intelligence, immediate demand for semiconductors is undergoing some cyclical weakness with new orders down in 18 of the past 19 months. However, the report said requirements of generative AI indicate “brighter days ahead”.

Gulf states have increasingly been chasing investments in AI and semiconductors, recognising the pivotal role they will play in future economies.

AGBI reported in 2023 that Gulf states are expected to invest heavily in powerful semiconductor chips.

In March this year Abu Dhabi launched MGX, a new technology investment company with Mubadala and G42, focusing on AI infrastructure, semiconductors and AI core technologies and applications.

Saudi Arabia is also planning a $40 billion fund to invest in AI, the New York Times reported.

The global semiconductor market was approximately $618 billion in 2022, and is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2030, according to an EY report.

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