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Challenges Loom for Samsung Electronics’ 4-nm Foundry Plant in US to Begin Operations Within 2024


The foundry plant site Samsung Electronics is constructing in Taylor, Texas, in the United States.

Samsung Electronics is gearing up for the commencement of operations at its semiconductor contract manufacturing foundry in Taylor, Texas, in the U.S. by deploying manufacturing-related personnel in the second half of the year. If the current situation persists, there should be no issues with starting mass production at the Taylor plant within the year as initially planned. However, as Samsung Electronics accelerates its plan to mass produce 4-nm chips within the year, delays in subsidy payments from the U.S. government are being seen as a potential variable affecting the plant’s operation.

According to industry sources on Feb. 8, Judge Bill Gravell of Williamson County, Texas, discussed the operational timeline of the foundry plant Samsung Electronics is building in Taylor during a regular court meeting held on Feb. 6 (local time). Judge Gravell mentioned, “Manufacturing-related personnel will be deployed to work at Samsung Electronics’ Taylor plant by no later than July 1.” However, a Samsung Electronics representative clarified, “There are several variables, so the timing of deploying manufacturing personnel has not yet been finalized.”

The personnel in question are expected to be responsible for tasks such as managing the stable temperature and humidity of the plant, trial operations, and preparing for mass production in accordance with equipment installation. Typically, such tasks are known to take about six months. Therefore, it is highly likely that Samsung Electronics will be able to start operations and initiate mass production at the Taylor foundry plant within the year, as targeted.

Judge Gravell, who had visited South Korea to attend SEMICON Korea, the country’s largest semiconductor exhibition, also met with senior officials from Samsung Electronics. In 2021, Judge Gravell contributed to attracting the Taylor plant by voting in favor of tax incentives for Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor plant construction in the U.S. Samsung Electronics is investing US$17 billion, its largest investment in the U.S. to date, to establish a foundry semiconductor production base in Taylor. The Taylor plant is expected to produce 4-nm chips used in artificial intelligence (AI), high-performance computing (HPC), and 5th generation (5G) telecommunications.

Samsung Electronics is expected to continue new investments after the operation of its first foundry plant. Judge Gravell revealed that construction has begun on Samsung Electronics’ second foundry plant in Taylor. Samsung Electronics submitted an investment plan to the U.S. city council last year, planning to invest US$24.5 billion in Austin and US$167.6 billion in Taylor, Texas, over the next 20 years to build a total of 11 semiconductor production plants.

However, delays in subsidy payments from the U.S. government are posing as obstacles to the plant’s operation. Even Intel has been hampered by delays in subsidy payments, with the completion of its US$20 billion semiconductor production plant in Ohio expected to be delayed by approximately two years from initial estimates. TSMC, the world’s leading foundry company, also recently decided to delay the construction of its US$40 billion semiconductor plant in Arizona.

 

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