A high-tech manufacturing crossroads

Intel is building a new five billion dollar state-of-the-art chip factory in Arizona but the jury is out on whether it's a sign of a resurgent US advanced manufacturing sector or the last gasp of a doomed era.

It goes by the anodyne moniker Fab 42, but the new Intel Corp factory being built in the Arizona desert is hardly a run-of-the-mill production facility.

At $US5 billion, it will be the most advanced chip factory ever constructed, producing microchips with transistors so tiny that over 100 million of them could fit on the head of a pin.

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