Samsung To Spend Billions On Austin-Based Mobile Chip Plant


Samsung said Tuesday it will invest nearly $4 billion dollars to expand and renovate its semiconductor manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas, marking the latest in a series of investments by the Korean tech giant to bolster its mobile chip offerings.

The remodeled facility is slated to start mass production during the second half of 2013, mainly producing 28-nm system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions for tablets and smartphones. According to Samsung, the renovations are needed to better meet the "rapidly growing demands" of its OEM customers for mobile chip technology.

"We are extremely pleased to extend our presence in Austin and reinforce Samsung's capacity for highly advanced logic products," said Woosung Han, president of Samsung Austin Semiconductor, in a statement. "The added ability in production will allow our customers to better respond to market needs."

[Related: Samsung Announces 10.1-Inch Galaxy Note]

Revamping the Austin facility is just one of many investments Samsung has made this year to grow its mobile chip business. In June, the company announced it was investing nearly $2 billion to build a new fabrication facility in Hwaseong, South Korea, also part of a larger effort to more efficiently meet customer demand for mobile chips.

In July, Samsung acquired the mobile connectivity and location division of U.K.-based chip-maker Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) in a $310 million deal, taking full ownership of all CSR operations related to the GPS and Bluetooth technologies it produces for smartphones. A total of 310 CSR employees and 21 mobile-related patents were acquired by Samsung.

Samsung's semiconductor unit currently produces mobile chips, including its flagship Exynos processors, for use in its own Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. It also creates the processors used in Apple's iPhone.

Samsung designs its chips based on the low-power architectures of U.K.-based chip licensor ARM, with their moderate power consumption levels being ideal for mobile devices. It recently introduced its newest chip, the dual-core Exynos 5 Dual, which can reach speeds up to 1.7GHz and is the world's first to use ARM's A-15 Dual Core mobile CPU.

Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are Samsung's biggest competitors in the mobile chip market, with x86-based chip-maker Intel also attempting to nab some share with its Atom "Medfield" processors.

PUBLISHED AUG. 21, 2012