South Korea is to build the ‘world’s largest’ chip center in greater Seoul with an investment of 230 billion dollars

South Korea is to build the ‘world’s largest’ chip center in greater Seoul with an investment of 230 billion dollars
South Korea is to build the ‘world’s largest’ chip center in greater Seoul with an investment of 230 billion dollars

Hong Kong/Seoul (CNN) South Korea says it will build a huge plant to make computer chips in greater Seoul, with about $230 billion in investment from memory chip giant Samsung Electronics.

The plans were announced by President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday and confirmed by the electronics giant.

“We will build the world’s largest new ‘high-tech system semiconductor cluster’ in the Seoul Metropolitan area based on large private investment of nearly 300 trillion Korean won,” he said.

“In addition, we will grow the ‘semiconductor mega-cluster’ into the world’s largest in conjunction with the existing memory semiconductor manufacturing complexes.”

A government statement sent to CNN said the chip cluster will be located in Gyeonggi province, which is part of the Seoul Metropolitan area, and the total investment will be completed in about 20 years.

To protect intellectual property, the country will revise its industrial technology protection law, according to the statement, which did not provide further details.

last May, Samsung (SSNLF) outlined a plan to pour more than $350 billion into its businesses and create tens of thousands of new jobs through 2026. It said it would primarily invest in core businesses such as chipmaking and biopharmaceuticals.

It was not immediately clear whether the previously announced investment would overlap with the one announced Wednesday by the government.

Samsung is best known for its electronics division, with its popular smartphones and TVs. In recent years, the company has leaned further into the role of supplier of semiconductors as manufacturers around the world suffer from shortages.

An aerial view of Samsung Electronics’ chip manufacturing facility in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on September 7, 2022.
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Memory chips, which have proven to be a major money maker for Samsung, will continue to be an area of ​​focus with further investment planned, according to the firm.

In the area of ​​high-end computer chips, Samsung competes directly with Intel (INTC) and Taiwan’s TSMC (TSM).

The vast majority of the world’s advanced microchips are made in only two places, Taiwan and South Korea. Taiwan’s industry is larger and more dominant, something South Korea is keen to challenge.

The concentration of so much vital chip manufacturing in just two locations has raised concerns about global supply chain stability, particularly as South Korea and Taiwan are both militarily threatened by neighbors North Korea and China, respectively.

In recent years, major economies have expressed concern about losing access to semiconductors, especially as political and economic tensions have escalated between China and the United States.

Governments, including Washington, and major companies such as Apple have asked semiconductor companies to localize their operations.

CNN’s Michelle Toh contributed reporting

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