Business

Samsung heir visits chip factory in China to assess expansion plan

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, who gave a historic apology two weeks ago and promised to end Samsung’s royal line, visited the company’s chip factory in China. The company said that the purpose of the visit was to assess the plant’s expansion plan following the country’s economic reopening amid COVID-19 slowdown.

This is Lee’s first international business trip since he visited Brazil in January. He inspected Samsung’s chip factory in Xi’an, China, and encouraged workers there to overcome the fallout from the pandemic. He said, “To secure new growth engines, we need to be preemptive and be prepared for forthcoming changes. We have no time, and we cannot lose this moment.

According to sources, Lee went through a coronavirus test after landing in China. China and South Korea began following a fast-track entry system for business professionals, which exempts them from the 14-day mandatory isolation rule that is applicable for other travelers. This step has been taken to help minimize the economic fallout due to the deadly virus and related entry curbs.

Samsung’s Xi’an plant is its only memory chip factory outside of South Korea. The South Korean firm had announced last year that it would invest an additional $8 billion to expand the plant. It also sent around 200 engineers last month for the expansion of the second plant in Xi’an. Chip production at the expanded plant should begin anytime soon.

The company’s Xi’an chip plant first started production in 2014, and then Samsung decided in 2017 to expand the plant after it signed an agreement with the Shaanxi provincial government.

Although the South Korean firm dethroned Intel in 2017 to take the top spot in the semiconductor business, it lost to Intel again in Q4 2020. However, Samsung has come up with a decade-long plan, consisting of $115 billion in investment for logic chip development and production.

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