|Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, right, poses with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in the U.S. state of Washington, Nov. 20. Courtesy of Samsung Electronics|
By Baek Byung-yeul
Samsung Electronics is set to announce the site for its new semiconductor manufacturing plant in the United States this week, according to industry sources, Sunday. The company is expected to unveil details of its $17 billion investment project when Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, currently visiting the U.S., returns home around Nov. 23 or 24.
According to the global tech giant, Vice Chairman Lee had meetings with high-ranking White House officials in Washington D.C., Nov. 19 (local time), to discuss the concurrent semiconductor-related supply chain issue, and the federal government's incentives for chip companies.
In particular, there has been extensive discussions on Samsung's role in solving the chip supply issue, the source said. The vice chairman also appeared to have decided to build a foundry chip factory in the U.S. and elaborated on this to the officials.
Samsung has been reportedly considering the cities of Taylor and Austin, both located in the U.S. state of Texas for the site of its new factory, but the industry view is that Taylor has emerged as the strongest candidate as the city has offered a pack of incentives to the company.
With regard to this, a source from the U.S. Congress, who had a discussion with the vice chairman, said, "The company looks to officially announce the location this week."
Lee also met with key lawmakers working on enacting the CHIPS for America Act, which offers an investment tax credit on equipment and facility costs. The act comes at a time when the U.S. government is trying to attract more investment into the semiconductor business and encourage firms to produce chips on its soil.
If Samsung confirms the establishment of a foundry plant, the U.S. will be able to greatly expand its semiconductor production infrastructure. Though the country is top in terms of semiconductor design, it lags behind Asian countries with regard to manufacturing.
After having meetings with officials in the capital, Lee visited the west of the U.S. for talks with executives from global IT firms to discuss ways to cooperate in future strategic projects. He had already held meetings with the top management of Moderna and Verizon, Nov. 16 and Nov. 17.
On Nov. 20, Lee met with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella ― while in Washington ― to discuss cooperation in next-generation technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, and the metaverse, as well as semiconductors and mobile devices, and the expansion of the software ecosystem.