Business

Samsung heir could be pardoned as semiconductor supply issues continue

The ongoing global shortage of semiconductors is causing supply problems across a wide variety of industries. Some car manufacturers have been forced to halt production due to parts unavailability, and with both the USA and China trying to become the world’s greatest semiconductor hub, Samsung Electronics is reportedly feeling pressure from both sides. The company is planning to make massive investments to increase its semiconductor manufacturing capacity, and according to the latest reports from industry sources, Samsung could end up following a dual-track approach in investments.

Last week, industry watchers said that Samsung has yet to make a decision as to whether it should pursue its semiconductor investment plans in the USA or South Korea, but a new report now suggests that Samsung is very close to revealing its plans for a two-pronged strategy. The company is expected to announce a 70 trillion won ($62.7 billion) investment. 20 trillion won ($17.9 billion) will reportedly be allocated to its expansion plans at its facility in Austin, Texas, and the remaining 50 trillion won ($44.8) will go towards expanding its P3 semiconductor line in Hwaseong, South Korea.

Business officials want Lee Jae-yong back at the helm

Even more interesting than the alleged two-pronged strategy is the fact that business officials believe that the next huge wave of investments should happen with Lee Jae-yong back at the helm. The planned investment is too large and important in their eyes, and because of this, they’ve asked president Moon Jae-in to pardon Lee Jae-yong and allow him to facilitate the investment.

Korea Enterprises Federation Chief Sohn Kyung-shik has reportedly suggested the idea of pardoning Lee during a meeting with the finance minister and heads of economic lobby groups, and apparently the other attendees remained quite positive on the idea.

Samsung’s Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison on account of bribery at the beginning of the year, and the vice chairman has humbly accepted the court’s decision. He was barred from working at Samsung for five years once he’s released from jail, though the employment ban seemingly remains controversial.

It’s unclear whether Lee Jae-yong will or won’t be pardoned but more details could emerge soon, especially since Samsung’s investment plans could become clearer in a matter of weeks. An unnamed industry executive cited by The Korea Times expects these details to be revealed a few days before president Moon’s face-to-face meeting with Biden […] probably in early May.

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