Samsung will start building a new 7nm foundry plant in its home country, being scheduled to hold a cornerstone laying ceremony in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, on Friday. The factory is initially meant to be solely dedicated to the electronics giant's foundry business, developing and implementing its high-end technologies in order to manufacture new chips for mobile and other devices. In the long-term, the planned layout of the plant could allow for significant expansion and diversification, The Korea Herald reported Wednesday, citing a company official.
The Hwaseong plant will boast manufacturing equipment for Extreme Ultraviolet lithography, a technology that TSMC decided to skip with the first generation of its 7nm chips, yet one that Samsung is adamant to realize as soon as possible. The Seoul-based original equipment manufacturer could start mass-producing 7nm EUV chips as early as next year but likely won't have them ready in time for the release of its 2019 flagships such as the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 lineups, according to recent estimates. The upcoming Galaxy S9 series is expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 845 and Exynos 9810, depending on the market, with both of those silicon modules being produced on the second generation of Samsung Foundry's 10nm FinFET process that's similar to the one used for the Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 found inside the firm's 2017 Android flagships.
The Hwaseong factory likely isn't the last foundry investment Samsung makes over the course of this year, with the tech giant presently pursuing various opportunities that could allow it to diversify its portfolio and become less reliant on its memory chip manufacturing. The memory business allowed the company to post record profits in recent times but is expected to decline going forward, possibly causing the firm's stock to go down with it if a new growth engine isn't identified, some analysts previously warned. TSMC is presently leading the 7nm race, having already scheduled a trial flow production run later this year, with Samsung focusing on its EUV technologies as a way to ultimately end up ahead of the Taiwanese semiconductor juggernaut, according to recent reports. Samsung's current process node roadmap expects 4nm technologies to become a reality by 2020 and allow for unprecedented levels of energy efficiency.