Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong visited the company’s semiconductor manufacturing plant in Xi’an, China on May 18. There, he expressed concerns over the company’s position in the industry with Chinese semiconductor companies posing a threat to it based on their huge domestic market and massive support from the Chinese government and the United States and China intensifying their rivalry in the industry.
The plant in Xi’an remained in normal operation even during the recent nationwide spread of COVID-19. Samsung Electronics proceeded with its facility expansion plan as scheduled and completed the first phase of the expansion in March. Last month, it sent approximately 200 engineers from South Korea to the plant for the expansion.
The plant is Samsung Electronics’ front line in its competition with Chinese semiconductor companies such as YMTC, which announced last month that it successfully developed 128-layer NAND flash chips and is expected to start manufacturing the chips late this year.
In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Commerce is planning to take a measure in September so that foreign companies’ semiconductor products based on U.S. software and technology cannot be supplied to Huawei without U.S. government authorization.
“Samsung Electronics can take no sides between the United States and China, which are its two biggest clients,” said an industry source, adding, “The company is likely to increase its semiconductor investment in both markets and it seems that his recent visit to Xi’an is in this regard.”