Samsung Head To Visit U.S. Next Week To Finalize $17 Billion Chip Plant – Report

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Korean chaebol Samsung Group, which is one of three companies rushing to build new chip manufacturing facilities in the United States is on track to finalize the location for its facility. Samsung, which is joined by Taiwan's Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and U.S. chip giant Intel Corporation in establishing new semiconductor manufacturing facilities, is currently evaluating different cities for its facility. According to reports from the South Korean industry, Samsung's vice chairman Mr. Lee Jae-Yong will visit the U.S. as early as next week to finalize the site selection of the $17 billion chipmaking facility.

Samsung Vice Chairman To Choose Between Texas, Arizona and New York For New Chip Plant

Samsung's slow deliberation for its new chip plant has been going on for the good part of this year, with the three potential sites for it has been on the cards since March. Back then, the company was facing a power outage in its operational facility in Austin, Texas and it submitted a new proposal to the authorities asking for tax concessions for building the new plant. It was in this document that Samsung also outlined that the alternative construction sites that it was interested in included New York and Arizona.

This new facility is expected to let Samsung manufacture semiconductors on the advanced 3-nanometer manufacturing process. Right now, the most advanced chip technology in the world is TSMC's 5nm node, and the Taiwanese company plans to kick off mass production of its next-generation 3nm process next year. Samsung and TSMC's 3nm processes are different, since they employ different designs for a transistor. While TSMC will stick with the conventional FinFET transistor, Samsung plans to employ the newer Gate-all-around (GAAFET) transistor that it jointly developed with IBM in 2018.

Samsung Foundry's diagram showing the evolution of a transistor from FinFET to GAAFET and then MBCFET. Image: Samsung Electronics

The report of Mr. Lee's visit to the U.S. comes courtesy of the Korean news agency Yonhap, but it does not provide any specific details.

According to the publication:

Lee Jae-yong, the tech giant's vice chairman, is expected to visit the U.S. as early as next week to finalize the company's US$17 billion investment project there.

However, it did mention that Samsung is yet to confirm the executive's travel itinerary, which would see him stop in the United States before returning to South Korea to face court cases. Mr. Lee is currently out on parole after spending seven months in prison due to a bribery charge.

Owing to its massive resources, Samsung has managed to transform itself into one of the world's top chip manufacturers, standing second only to Intel Corporation and TSMC. It is also one of the world's largest non-logic, or memory manufacturers in the world, which is a South Korean specialty as another key company, SK Hynix, also operates out of the Asian country.

A report from Reuters that surfaced late September claimed that the company was close to finalizing the construction of the new U.S. chip plant in Williamson County, Texas. While Samsung refused to confirm the location, Reuters reported that Williamson was at the forefront due to favorable tax incentives and the stable availability of water and electricity.

Samsung plans to have the plant producing chips in 2024, right around the same time TSMC's Arizona facility is also expected to become operational. However, unlike the Korean company who is yet to officially confirm the location for its new plant, TSMC is swiftly moving forward with construction, with its key suppliers already having received layouts for key facilities such as clean rooms.

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