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Business & Politics

Samsung likely to announce US foundry investment plan this week

During his trip stateside, Jay Y. Lee discussed the chipmaking plan with White House officials and met with the CEOs of MS and Amazon

By Nov 22, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Jay Y. Lee
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Jay Y. Lee

Samsung Electronics Co. is expected to announce an investment plan for its second US-based semiconductor foundry plant this week. As the South Korean conglomerate’s Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee met senior White House officials last week to discuss the $17 billion investment plan, Samsung's highest-ever investment in the US, he is seen to have confirmed major details in the foundry facilities and hunkered down to solidify Samsung’s partnerships in the country.

According to Samsung Electronics, Lee met some US Congress members on Nov. 18 and requested the prompt passage of a semiconductor-related bill awaiting approval in the House of Representatives, which includes a $52 billion investment in semiconductor manufacturing and research to boost the US’ chipmaking industry. Lee also urged the US government not to discriminate against overseas companies investing in the US, with incentives such as tax deductions and infrastructure supply. 

While several global chipmakers such as Intel Corp., AMD Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. are calling on US President Joe Biden to provide subsidies and tax incentives to the domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry, Lee’s opinion underscores the Korean government’s request to the US during the talks between Korean President Moon Jae-in and Biden in May of this year.

Lee met some key personnel in the White House on Nov. 19 to discuss foundry investment plans and the global semiconductor supply chains; this follows the US Commerce Department's October request for 79 global companies, including Samsung Electronics, to release their semiconductor supply chain information to the US. The Korean chipmaker will reportedly soon announce the location of the new foundry plants sites in the US, highly likely in Taylor, Texas, the city that has endorsed an incentive to refund 92.5% of the property tax Samsung Electronics would have to pay for the next 10 years for the plants.

On Nov. 20, Lee met Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Satya Nadella and discussed future collaborations in advanced technologies in segments such as semiconductors, mobiles, virtual reality, augmented reality and the metaverse, as well as the expansion of the software eco-system. The vice chairman also visited Amazon.com Inc.'s headquarters to meet with its chief executive Andy Jassy and management to discuss collaborations in some promising industries such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Amazon has already partnered with Samsung Electronics by providing its AI assistant Alexa to Samsung Smart TV.  

Lee is expected to meet some key leaders of Silicon Valley-based big techs including Google, then visit Samsung Electronics’ AI Center nearby before flying back to Korea by Nov. 23 due to his required attendance at a Nov. 25 trial. Since August 2021 when Lee was placed on parole, he has been attending trials every Thursday involving Samsung Biologics’ accounting fraud and Samsung Construction & Trading merger with Chile Industries. Last Thursday’s trial was delayed due to Korea’s national college entrance exam. 

Write to Hyung-Suk Song at click@hankyung.com

Jihyun Kim edited this article.

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