Samsung to build huge chip factory in Texas

Samsung Electronics will invest $17 billion to build a semiconductor factory in Austin, Texas.

The sprawling facility will produce what the South Korean company calls organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays for the smartphone and television markets.

The announcement came on the same day as the opening of Samsung’s giant, $43 billion research and development facility in Austin.

“We’re excited to begin the first phase of this manufacturing endeavor with Texas,” said Sang-hyun Kwon, president and CEO of Samsung’s memory and display businesses. “The grand scale of the new Austin Innovation Center and the state of the art facilities here will provide the best environment to grow our business and create a lasting legacy here.”

The new factory, scheduled to open in 2021, will create at least 2,000 jobs in South Texas. A second factory will produce screen material.

The $17 billion cost of the Texas facility is more than double the $7 billion that Samsung planned to spend on its Texas plant earlier this year.

The Korean company previously announced its intention to form a local joint venture with an affiliate to develop a plant in Oregon, to expand OLED capacity in China and to manufacture display products in Mexico. Samsung also announced the opening of its research and development facilities earlier this month.

For its own sake, Samsung badly needs a new cell phone display technology because the company’s flagship, organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, screens are losing sales in the face of a surge in use of cheaper, more powerful liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens.

Samsung currently builds some of its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) components in a semiconductor factory in Austin. The new Texas plant is for the manufacture of more advanced types of OLED screens, for which Samsung will be first to market.

“This is a state-of-the-art technology. It’s going to make a name for Texas,” said Representative Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Samsung Electronics initially owned and operated a semiconductor and solar panel plant in Austin, which shut down in 2014. Samsung bought the building in 2016 and began refurbishing it.

The Austin plant would join Samsung’s other major semiconductor and display production facilities in Korea and Japan, including a semiconductor plant in Nanjing, China, and a large LCD plant in Yeosu, South Korea.

Google and Facebook moved to Austin during the last decade and helped draw a flurry of other large-scale tech operations. Google employees start their workday by chatting on the patio outside its celebrated headquarters, which opened in 2007.

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