Samsung to compete with TSMC with new US foundry

Asia's Tech News Daily

Samsung to compete with TSMC with new US foundry

Kim Ki-nam, right, vice chairman and head of semiconductor business of Samsung Electronics, shakes hands with Texas State Governor Greg Abbott after announcing that Samsung chose the city of Taylor in the U.S. state as the site for its new $17 billion chip foundry plant during a press conference in Austin, Texas, Nov. 23. Courtesy of Samsung Electronics

Tech giant to begin mass production in $17 bill. Taylor plant from 2024

By Baek Byung-yeul

Samsung Electronics is looking to speed up its move to become the world’s leading semiconductor company in system semiconductors by 2030, alongside its lead in the memory chip business.

The Korean tech giant has finalized the location of its new semiconductor fabrication plant, or foundry, in the U.S., announcing Wednesday it will invest $17 billion in the facility in Taylor, Texas. This is the largest investment ever made by Samsung in the U.S. The company said construction will begin in the first half of 2022, and mass production in the second half of 2024.

The new U.S. foundry is expected to help Samsung respond more quickly to demand and also secure new customers; as the global chip supply shortage issue that has impacted many companies in a wide range of business areas is forecast to stabilize.

Over the long term, Samsung expects the investment to contribute to the development of a next-generation IT sector and accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution by expanding its ability to manufacture high-performance chips.

“As we add a new facility in Taylor, Samsung is laying the groundwork for another important chapter in our future,” Samsung Electronics Device Solutions Division Vice Chairman and CEO Kim Ki-nam said during a press conference in Austin, Texas. “With greater manufacturing capacity, we will be able to better serve the needs of our customers and contribute to the stability of the global semiconductor supply chain.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also welcomed the investment, saying “Samsung’s new semiconductor manufacturing facility in Taylor will bring countless opportunities for hardworking Central Texans and their families, and will play a major role in our state’s continued exceptionalism in the semiconductor industry.”

Samsung dominates the global memory chip sector, but has been a challenger in non-memory chips, especially in the foundry business ― which refers to contract-based semiconductor manufacturing for design companies ― behind TSMC of Taiwan.

Market tracker Counterpoint Research said Samsung had a 14 percent share of the global foundry business in the second quarter, following TSMC with 58 percent. The gap is even greater if Samsung excludes the amount of logic chips it uses from those manufactured in its foundry.

In 2019, Samsung announced a plan to expand investments to 171 trillion won ($144 billion) by 2030 to become a leader in the system semiconductor business.

The company began mass production at its Pyeongtaek Line 2 foundry here in August 2020, and with Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong’s new investment finalized on his trip to the U.S., Samsung’s pursuit of becoming the dominant player in all semiconductor sectors is expected to accelerate.

The Taylor factory, along with Pyeongtaek Line 3, which is under construction, is expected to serve as a key production base for Samsung to achieve this goal.

Samsung said the Taylor factory will “manufacture products based on advanced process technologies for application in areas such as mobile, 5G, high-performance computing and artificial intelligence.”

“The Taylor site will span more than 5 square kilometers and is expected to serve as a key location for Samsung’s global semiconductor manufacturing capacity along with its newest production line in Pyeongtaek,” the company said.

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