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Samsung Raising Investment Into Its Semiconductor Businesses

April 30, 2015 - Written By David Steele

Samsung have made a very deliberate and concerted push into semiconductors over the last few years, including developing new cutting edge mobile processors and memory chips. The business had been recruiting chip engineers from around the industry including AMD and the fruits of their labors are present in the Samsung Galaxy S6, which arguably has the best in class processor available for mobile devices combined with a high performing and efficient memory unit. It’s reassuring, then, to read that Samsung has no plans to rest on their laurels but is instead making plans to continue to invest capital into the semiconductor business – as much as $10 billion for 2015. This investment is driven by the success that Samsung’s mobile chips are having within the industry.

Samsung Semiconductor Senior Vice President, Jeeho Baek, said this on the matter: “Last year, we invested around 10 trillion won [$9.36 billion] in memory semiconductors. We plan to maintain similar volume this year. We have set DRAM and NAND production ratio to 7 to 3, but will manage this flexibly depending on demand, going forward.” We understand that Samsung is increasing its production capacity for memory chips; an additional line of DRAM production is being built at Hwaseong, the main hub for memory chip production in South Korea. This production line is due to be completed by the end of the year. In 2017 a new plant is due to be completed at Pyeongtaek, South Korea, further adding to Samsung’s production capacity.

Samsung is also planning to increase its 3D V-NAND products. This is a way of stacking cells vertically within a chip in order to increase capacity for the same board space. Only Samsung and Toshiba have successfully commercialized 3D V-NAND technology at this juncture; Samsung is planning to offer new 3D V-NAND solid state drives, SSDs, later in the year. The firm has already received supply deals with Google and Amazon to supply solid state drives for datacentres.

In the mobile sphere, however, Samsung’s lead at producing 14nm processors is believed to have secured it contract wins for semiconductor manufacturing. It’s believed that Samsung will be manufacturing processors for Apple, Qualcomm and Nvidia on both 14nm and 20nm die sizes but these stories remain rumors for the time being.