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Samsung Considers $10B Texas Chipmaking Plant

Tue February 23, 2021 - West Edition #5
News-Journal


Plans are preliminary and subject to change, but for now the goal is to kick off construction this year; install major equipment in 2022; then begin operations as early as 2023.
Plans are preliminary and subject to change, but for now the goal is to kick off construction this year; install major equipment in 2022; then begin operations as early as 2023.

Samsung Electronics Co. is considering spending more than $10 billion to build its most advanced logic chipmaking plant in the United States in Austin.

The world's largest memory chip and smartphone maker is in discussions to locate a facility in Austin capable of fabricating chips as advanced as three nanometers in the future, according to sources.

Plans are preliminary and subject to change, but for now the goal is to kick off construction this year; install major equipment in 2022; then begin operations as early as 2023, sources said. While the investment amount could fluctuate, Samsung's plans would mean upwards of $10 billion to bankroll the project.

Samsung is taking advantage of a concerted U.S. government effort to counter China's rising economic prowess and lure back home some of the advanced manufacturing that over the past decades has gravitated toward Asia. The hope is that such production bases in the United States will galvanize local businesses and support American industry and chip design. Intel Corp.'s troubles ramping up on technology and its potential reliance in the future on TSMC and Samsung for at least some of its chipmaking only underscored the extent to which Asian giants have forged ahead in recent years.

The envisioned plant will be its first in the United States to use extreme ultraviolet lithography, the standard for next-generation silicon, sources said. Asked about plans for a U.S. facility, Samsung said no decision has yet been made.

"If Samsung really wants to realize its goal to become the top chipmaker by 2030, it needs massive investment in the U.S. to catch up with TSMC," said Greg Roh, senior vice president of HMC Securities. "TSMC is likely to keep making progress in process nodes to 3nm at its Arizona plant and Samsung may do the same. One challenging task is to secure EUV equipment now, when Hynix and Micron are also seeking to purchase the machines."

If the Samsung plant plan moves forward, it would effectively go head-to-head on American soil with TSMC, which is on track to build its own $12 billion chip plant in Arizona by 2024. Samsung is trying to catch TSMC in the so-called foundry business of making chips for the world's corporations — a particularly pivotal capability given a deepening shortage of semiconductors in recent weeks.




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