Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Whoa: "South Korea Commits $450 Billion to Dominate Semiconductor Market"

As we said in the outro from February's "Germany predicts chip investments of up to 50 billion euros in Europe":

Now what's 50 billion euros, maybe three fabs + equipment? 
Taiwan Semi's new plant in Arizona is going to cost $12 billion and they are rumored to be pretty good at this stuff.
$450 billion on the other hand...
From ExtremeTech, May 14: 

South Korea has announced it will spend $450 billion over the next nine years to take the lead in the global semiconductor market. This is an aggressive move by South Korea to boost its semiconductor businesses. For comparison, President Biden recently called on Congress to invest $50 billion over a decade in the National Science Foundation, focusing on advanced computing and semiconductor research.

Samsung and SK Hynix are two of the major beneficiaries of the new bill, but Bloomberg reports there are 153 companies named in total. These companies are expected to drive the semiconductor industry forward, securing South Korea’s relevance in the global market.

“Our government will unite with companies to form a semiconductor powerhouse,” said President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. “We will support companies concretely.” In the future, manufacturers will also be able to deduct more of their R&D expenses from their taxes, freeing up additional funds for investment.

Samsung has announced it’s increasing its foundry investments by 38 trillion won, or $33.7 billion through 2030, with the funds being split between ongoing process technology research and building new foundries. The company also said it has broken ground on a new manufacturing line in Pyeongtaek. The facility will have 2.1 million square feet of floor space and be capable of manufacturing both 14nm DRAM and 5nm logic with EUV. Samsung had originally announced a plan to invest $117 billion by 2030, so this represents a 1.29x increase over the company’s original plan.

“The entire semiconductor industry is facing a watershed moment and now is the time to chart out a plan for long-term strategy and investment,” Kim Ki-nam, Samsung vice chairman and head of the Device Solutions Division, said. “For the memory business, where Samsung has maintained its undisputed leadership position, the company will continue to make preemptive investments to lead the industry.”

SK Hynix already had plans to build four new plants in Yongin at an estimated cost of $106 billion, but the company announced today that it would pour an additional $97 billion into capacity expansions at existing facilities. Bloomberg has a really interesting graph on how chip-making is divided by country: