Samsung Elec may need to expand fab in U.S. to compete with TSMC in U.S.

2020.05.19 14:49:12 | 2020.05.19 14:49:36

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South Korea’s chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. may have to study expanding chip production lines in the United States as not to lose its big American customers like Qualcomm after Taiwanese pure-play foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) announced a plan to build a chip factory in Arizona.

NH Investment & Securities in a report projected the world’s largest memory chip maker would have to boost investment in the U.S. to achieve its goal to become the biggest producer of system chips by 2030.

“Samsung needs to increase investment in the U.S. to keep TSMC in check,” an analyst from NH Investment said. The official added that the Korean chip maker may consider building a new fab on idle sites and parking lot at its factory in Austin, Texas, if it does want to lose customers to the Taiwanese premier foundry.

TSMC commands 50 percent of the consigned foundry market, and Samsung 20 percent despite its heavy investment to catch up. Samsung Electronics has 11-nanometer (nm) and 14-nm fabs the U.S.

Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor facility in Austin, Texas. [Photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co.]이미지 확대

Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor facility in Austin, Texas. [Photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co.]

Separately, the Korean memory giant also could come under greater pressure to sever ties with Huawei Technologies as the U.S. Trump administration is trying to isolate the Chinese telecom behemoth.

Some market watchers expect the U.S. move could make it impossible for the Chinese firm to continue its smartphone production.

Mirae Asset Daewoo estimated Huawei had bought about $10 billion worth mobile memory chips last year.

The latest U.S. sanctions on Huawei could ripple to its suppliers, industry watchers expect, including Samsung Electronics that had Huawei as one of the top five biggest customers and SK Hynix that generated about half of its sales from China last year.

Others suggest, however, that the U.S. restrictions can actually be a boon for Korean chip makers as they are aimed to rein in Chinese ascension in IT and chip sector.

By Chun Gyung-woon and Choi Mira

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