As the semiconductor wars heat, South Korean electronics giant Samsung is readying to step up its game. As per a report by Bloomberg, the company is planning to invest around $10 billion to expand its Austin factory and start making 3nm chips over there, going head-to-head with TMSC which is currently sitting at the top of the food chain and is also making progress with its 3nm ambitions. If the company’s plans materialize, it will be the first Samsung facility in the US where the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology is put to use. Back in February last year, Samsung began making chips based on the 7nm EUV process at its V1 facility in South Korea. Here’s what the Bloomberg report says regarding the company’s 3nm goals:
|“The world’s largest memory chip and smartphone maker is in discussions to locate a facility in Austin, Texas, capable of fabricating chips as advanced as 3 nanometers in the future, people familiar with the matter said. Plans are preliminary and subject to change but for now the aim is to kick off construction this year, install major equipment from 2022, then begin operations as early as 2023, they said. While the investment amount could fluctuate, Samsung’s plans would mean upwards of $10 billion to bankroll the project, one of the people said.“|
Samsung is reportedly aiming to bring 3nm chips to the market by the end of 2022, after having already launched a mobile chip – the Exynos 2100 powering the Galaxy S21 family – that is based on the 5nm EUV process. Samsung is said to have already roped in people to lobby on its behalf for expansion of its Austin plant and get the necessary approvals. Samsung has traditionally been spending a huge chunk of its billions via the semiconductor division on its memory business – an area where it is a global leader – and is now looking to diversify its spendings.
Samsung still has a long way to go before it can catch up with TSMC, but the company is certainly laying the groundwork to lure some of TSMC’s cash-rich clients. Intel, for example, has reportedly been in talks with both Samsung as well as TSMC to make some of its chips, but the talks are still in nascent stages and things might change with the arrival of a new CEO at Intel this year.