SAMSUNG Electronics is looking to set up a NAND flash memory manufacturing plant in China, in order to meet strong demand for smartphones and tablet computers.
Toward this end, it is seeking government approval for the 20nm node facility. The company hopes to start construction in 2012, and begin operations in 2013.
Industry consensus is Samsung wishes to improve its competitiveness in the memory industry by leveraging Chinese subsidies and cheaper manufacturing costs.
In 2007, Intel, which is the world’s biggest semiconductor manufacturer, set up a plant in Dalian. Hynix Semiconductor, another memory competitor, has had a facility in Wuxi since 2006.
The Samsung move is an indication of China’s ascent to becoming the foremost manufacturer of high-tech electronics. It seems the increasing competition is overriding concerns the South Korean company (and indeed others) have regarding transferring its technology to a location where it is more vulnerable to IP leakage.
Samsung, on its part, claims that by 2013, 20nm NAND flash memory technology will be common, and will in fact be behind the technology used in its South Korean facilities.