Samsung to unveil $60 billion US chip investment

WASHINGTON – Samsung Electronics is preparing to take the wraps off a US$44 billion (S$60 billion) investment in US chipmaking as soon as next week, a signature project in Washington’s broader effort to bring semiconductor production back to America.

The world’s biggest memory-chip maker plans to outline the project in Taylor, Texas, alongside United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, according to people familiar with the matter.

It has secured more than US$6 billion of US government grants for an investment outlay that has expanded significantly to a total of US$44 billion over multiple years, the people said. The timing and details of the announcement could still change before they are finalised, they added.

The award is the latest in a spate of multibillion-dollar handouts from the administration under US President Joe Biden, which is using the 2022 Chips and Science Act to try and revitalise American chipmaking after decades of production shifting to Asia.

The broader programme is also intended to counter the technological rise of China, which is building up its own domestic semiconductor industry.

The Chips Act – which set aside US$39 billion in grants plus US$75 billion in loans and guarantees – has spurred well north of US$200 billion in private semiconductor investments.

Intel snagged nearly US$20 billion in grants and loans. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co – the main chipmaker for Nvidia and Apple – got US$11.6 billion. It is unclear if Samsung will get loan awards on top of the more than US$6 billion in government grants.

Samsung’s project adds to a robust semiconductor ecosystem in Texas, including tens of billions of dollars of additional investment from Texas Instruments in its home state and Samsung’s existing factory in Austin.

It is not clear when the Taylor site will begin mass production, after a reported delay in 2023. Representatives for the company declined to comment.

The planned announcement next week will set off a months-long due diligence period, during which Samsung and the US Commerce Department will hammer out the final terms of their agreement.

The money will then be disbursed as the project hits key construction and production milestones, with the potential for clawbacks if the firm falls short of its promise.

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