World's top chip maker aims to dominate foundry market
Samsung Electronics has chosen Taylor, Texas, as the site of its new $17 billion U.S. semiconductor plant. Samsung said it took tax benefits and other investment incentives into account in selecting the U.S. city. The decision will enable the world's largest memory chip maker to focus on its goal of emerging as the top foundry company ― which manufactures semiconductors for other companies ― by 2030.
The selection has several meanings. Above all, it provides an opportunity for Samsung's semiconductor division ― concentrated on memory chips ― to expand to the foundry business. Beginning with its new plant in Texas, Samsung plans to pour 171 trillion won ($144 billion) into the foundry business. The company aims to overtake Taiwan's TSMC, which dominates the global market with a 58 percent share, to emerge as the world's No. 1 semiconductor company worthy of its title.
The latest decision also signals the normalization of Samsung's management. The new U.S. plant is the first investment decision made by Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong after returning to the boardroom. It suggests that large-scale investments and corporate takeovers that have stopped for a while may regain momentum.
Lee showed aggressive moves during his U.S. visit. He had a series of meetings with President Joe Biden's close aides and congressional bigwigs for talks on solving the global supply chains bottleneck and met with Google's CEO to talk about next-generation businesses. The de facto leader of Korea's largest conglomerate seemed determined to put the group's global business suspended during his absence back on track. For Samsung to hit its goal, it must overwhelm competitors in production capacity while securing more global partners. To catch up with TSMC running far ahead, Samsung also needs to clinch massive M&A deals.
"We cannot go through this enormous transition period by just chasing frontrunners or widening the gap with followers," Lee said while meeting with Samsung researchers in the U.S. He noted the transition will be "difficult and painful," in order to build a new future for the company by "making the impossible possible and pioneering the future." So, the new Samsung is back on the starting blocks for its next race. We hope it goes smoothly.