In context: Semiconductor demand is surging and an ongoing shortage of chips has pushed companies and governments to invest large amounts of money into establishing production capabilities outside of Asia. Samsung has big plans to conquer semiconductors and other key industries, and will be spending $205 billion towards those goals. A $17 billion chunk of that fund will go toward building a new chip plant in the US, most likely in one of two cities in Texas.
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Samsung was evaluating two locations in the state of Texas for the construction of a new 5nm chip manufacturing plant, after becoming aware of plans to offer extensive property tax breaks for tech giants looking to bring their business to the region.
One of the locations is Austin, which is already home to one of Samsung's manufacturing facilities, while the other is the city of Taylor in Williamson County. Commissioners from Williamson County along with the Taylor City Council were unanimously in favor of the proposal, and an owner of the Texas Beer Company promised to create a Samsung co-branded Pale Ale beer if the company ever decided to go ahead with such a project.
Image: Samsung's Austin, Texas chip plant
However, a Samsung spokesperson explained that "no decision has been made by Samsung on a site for a potential expansion. All sites are under consideration and each community is performing the appropriate due diligence to put themselves in the best position for this opportunity. The actions by Williamson County and the City of Taylor are part of their due diligence."
Taylor city officials are no doubt excited about the project, as it's expected to create 1,800 jobs for the chip fab, as well as anywhere between 6,500 to 10,000 construction jobs. The facility would occupy an area of over 1,100 acres (4.45 square kilometers), which is much larger than the 350 acres Samsung had previously bought for its Austin factory.
That said, Taylor and Austin are only two of five potential locations under review by Samsung for what is internally called the "Star Project." Austin is reportedly not as attractive for the tech giant after an extended power outage in February led to a temporary shutdown of the existing factory there -- a $350 million loss. Phoenix and New York sites are also under consideration, but even less likely than the Austin site.
Samsung wants to start construction on the new chip manufacturing plant in early 2022 and have it operational by the end of 2024, so it won't be long before it'll announce its decision on the location of the new facility.