Millions of euro in public funds handed to ST Microelectronics after EU approval last year are being used to develop new digital and robotic equipment and automated technology.

Prime Minister Robert Abela visited the Kirkop factory on Tuesday and said Malta produces a range of the microchips used in devices from Smartphones to cars across the world. 

He said microchips play an important role in today’s technological world, and therefore Malta’s role in the technological framework was truly significant.

Malta can be an innovation hub for semiconductor technology, he said. 

Abela was shown ongoing work on state-of-the-art technology that addresses the testing and packaging of digital microchips for automotive and industrial applications and the technology linked to automated manufacturing run by artificial intelligence

“This is how we are modernising our country’s economy and creating quality jobs where Maltese and Gozitan students can find employment in the most advanced technology sectors in the world," Abela said. 

Abela visited the factory alongside Economy Minister Silvio Schembri. 

ST employs 1,800 employees in Malta and produces 2.7 million microchips a day. 

Last year, the government announced that it had received EU approval to inject millions in state aid into the semiconductor firm, as part of an EU-wide push to encourage microchip production in Europe. 

The company is expected to receive in excess of €20 million in state aid from the Maltese government through that initiative.  

The European Commission had given the go-ahead for the government to fund ST through its Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) programme. It usually prohibits governments from funding private enterprise under its strict state aid rules. However, it approved billions of euros in aid last year for projects aimed at enabling a digital and green transformation as rivals such as China excel at digital innovation.  

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