Samsung Electronics has decided to build EUV foundry lines in Austin, Texas which will be the first time that the company will have EUV production lines in a country other than South Korea. The company has made this decision in order to meet increased demands for smaller chips and President Biden’s plan to restructure the country’s semiconductor supply chain. While it is reported that the company has already begun working on the construction, it is likely that the company will make an official announcement around May 21 when President Moon and President Biden are scheduled to have their first summit in Washington D.C.
According to the industry on Monday, it is reported that Samsung Electronics has decided to build an EUV semiconductor fab in Austin, Texas. The company plans to break ground this third quarter and start the operation in 2024.
It is reported that the fab will use the 5nm process. The process is the most advanced process that Samsung Electronics has commercialized so far.
The company plans to invest $18 billion (20 trillion KRW) in the construction. It is reported that the company already sent personnel who will be responsible for building the new fab and utility facilities to Austin.
The Austin fab, which is the only foundry fab to be located in a country other than South Korea, mainly focuses on the production of 14nm technology. This will be the first time that Samsung Electronics will build 5nm foundry lines in a country other than South Korea, and the company is expected to target demands from American system semiconductor manufacturers with its 5nm foundry lines.
EUV’s wavelength is about one-fourteenth of that of ArF light source. It is more useful in making thinner and finer circuits and it can also reduce complicated processes. Because it can improve performance and productivity of semiconductors, global system semiconductor manufacturers such as Apple, Qualcomm, AMD, and NVIDIA have been releasing smaller semiconductors such as 5nm and 7nm chips.

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<Samsung Electronics' fab in Austin, Texas>

It is likely that Samsung Electronics has decided to build EUV foundry lines in the United States because such global companies are concentrated in the United States and there have been increased demands for smaller semiconductors from major companies such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Tesla. In fact, Texas has started to emerge as a new foothold for IT companies, and global companies such as HP Enterprise and Oracle have moved their headquarters to Texas.
Samsung Electronics also plans to satisfy President Biden’s plan to increase semiconductor production in the country with its decision.
As major industries such as automotive industry have been affected by lack of supply of semiconductors since taking the office, President Biden saw that key products that are related to the national economy and security could not be depended on foreign countries and has shown willingness to solve the issue by increasing semiconductor production in the country. As a result, TSMC and Intel announced publicly that they would build semiconductor plants in the U.S. Samsung Electronics has also decided to invest in EUV foundry lines in order to seize the U.S. government’s plan to restructure the semiconductor supply chain as an opportunity.
President Biden has repeatedly sent signals to Samsung Electronics about investing in the U.S. Not only did he invite the company to a virtual conference held by himself on April 12, he also invited the company to a second meeting that is expected to be held the day before the summit.
Samsung Electronics has been preparing to invest in additional production lines ever since it purchased a land in Austin in 2019. However, its final decision has been postponed while discussing issues such as incentive with U.S. officials.
As the Biden administration has decided to support Samsung Electronics, it is expected that Samsung will make an official announcement regarding an investment in Austin, Texas. The announcement is likely to be made during the summit between the two presidents.
A representative from Samsung Electronics said that the company has yet to make a final decision related to EUV foundry lines in the United States and that the company is currently looking into building EUV foundry lines in the country.
Staff Reporter Kang, Hyeryung | & Staff Reporter Yun, Geonil |