Samsung reveals plan to invest $230bn in Seoul chip factories over next 20 years

A Samsung factory in South Korea (Samsung)
Samsung Electronics has revealed plans to invest $230bn over the 20 years to develop the world’s largest silicon chip fabrication industry.

The company, which is the world’s largest maker of memory chips, smartphones and TVs, is contemplating the construction of five plants in the Seoul metropolitan area between now and 2043.

There will also be 150 support and supply projects, including materials, parts and equipment makers, fabless chipmakers and semiconductor research-and-development organisations.

The programme will be part of a $420bn investment plan announced today by the government of South Korea. The aim it to attract funding from the private sector by offering tax breaks and infrastructure support to high-tech production plants.

The plans come as a number of advanced economies try to bolster their domestic chip sectors using state subsidies, and companies respond with ever larger capital investment plans are announced. For example, the US last month released details of its CHIPS Act, which will offer billions of dollars in investment incentives.

Commenting on this sharpening competition, Yoon Suk Yeol, the president of South Korea, said today: “The economic battlefield, which recently began with chips, has expanded … countries are providing large-scale subsidies and tax support. We must support private investments to ensure further growth … the government must provide location, R&D, manpower and tax support.”

The government will also spend $18bn over the next five years on research into strategic technologies such as artificial intelligence.

In a separate development, Samsung Electronics has announced that it will begin mass production of cutting-edge 4nm chips during the first half of this year after making advances in production techniques, performance and power consumption.

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