CHIPMAKER Intel announced on Tuesday that it will close its fab plant in Costa Rica, resulting in the loss of 1,500 jobs, as its struggles with the dwindling PC market continue.
An Intel spokesperson confirmed the news to Reuters, saying in a statement, "It's being closed and consolidated into our other operations throughout the world," adding that the firm will continue to have over 1,000 engineers, finance and human resources employees in Costa Rica.
Anabel Gonzalez, Costa Rica's minister of foreign trade, said Intel's decision was unfortunate but that the country will continue to work on attracting high-tech companies.
"Intel helped Costa Rica position its name in the world of foreign direct investment and high technology," Gonzalez said. "Today, more than 15 years later, Costa Rica is a leader in different industries, and has become a highly competitive location for high-tech manufacturing, services and, more recently, research and development activities."
Costa Rica president elect Luis Guillermo Solis added that the decision had nothing to do with the election of a new government on Sunday.
"The decision bears no relation to the election of the new Costa Rica government or the market conditions for... potential foreign investment," he said in a statement.
The cuts in Costa Rica are consistent with Intel's announcement in January that it would reduce its global workforce of 107,000 employees by about five percent this year, and it is thought that the closure of the Costa Rica plant is part of Intel's wider plan to cut costs and shift its focus away from the PC market and to the mobile market.
The firm is lagging in the smartphone and tablet markets, as Nvidia and Qualcomm dominate the mobile chip market. µ