Samsung raves about fab six

Samsung Electronics is ramping up foundry capacity using advanced sub-5nm process technology on its home soil.

In what seems a move to give bigger rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing a better run for its money in winning manufacturing contracts, the South Korean behemoth started work this month on building a sixth domestic chip-production line.

The new facility, based in Pyeongtaek, is expected to be in full operational swing by the second half of next year. The aim, said Dr. ES Jung, head of Samsung's foundry business, is to meet "growing global demand" for advanced 5 nanometer chips using the latest EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography technology (namely 5nm and below process technology).

The South Korean firm said it wanted to apply these tech advances across a slew of next-gen applications, including 5G, high-performance computing and AI. The new Pyeongtaek facility will apparently play a "pivotal role" in trying to make this happen.

Samsung recently added a new EUV-dedicated line in its fab based in Hwaseon (dubbed "V1") to what it calls its "global foundry network." (Samsung also has a production facility in the US.)

Mass production of 5nm EUV process at V1 is expected in the second half of this year. The development follows the initial mass production of the EUV-based 7nm process in early 2019 at the Hwaseon facility.

Last year, according to figures provided by Reuters, Samsung said it planned to invest 133 trillion Korean won (US$108 billion) in non-memory chips through 2030.

Of this sum, KRW73 trillion ($59 billion) is set aside for production infrastructure and the rest is allocated to R&D.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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