Samsung spent tens of billions of dollars annually on its various chip businesses for several years now. On Thursday the company announced that its renewed semiconductor investment plan includes spending $150 billion on R&D and CapEx for its LSI and foundry businesses by 2030.
$15 Billion per Year
About two years ago Samsung announced plans to spend $115 billion through 2030 (i.e., $9.51 billion a year) on its LSI and foundry businesses, which includes R&D of new process technologies and materials, chip design, and actual fabs. $9.51 billion a year is a lot of money, but from now on the company is committed to spending $15 billion a year on its LSI and semiconductor production operations. The increase is motivated by the growing demand for chips and semiconductor fabrication services driven by megatrends like 5G, AI, and HPC.
Samsung Electronics has been outspending all other semiconductor producers in the world in recent years. Just last year it invested around $28.1 billion in production facilities that are used by its Samsung Foundry and memory (3D NAND, DRAM) businesses. With an increased commitment to foundry business, Samsung will almost certainly increase the general CapEx of its semiconductor division to well beyond $30 billion a year.
“The entire semiconductor industry is facing a watershed moment and now is the time to chart out a plan for long-term strategy and investment,” said Dr. Kinam Kim, Vice Chairman and Head of Device Solutions Division at Samsung Electronics.
Samsung P3: A Fab for DRAM and Logic
In an interesting turn of events, Samsung also announced that it had begun construction of its new P3 fab near Pyeongtaek, South Korea, that will be used to produce both DRAM and logic chips using process technologies that rely on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. Normally, Samsung uses different fabs to make DRAM and logic chips, but it looks like with next-generation EUV tools it makes sense to use one fab for both types of products.
Samsung's P3 is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022. Initially, it will produce chips using Samsung's 14 nm technology for DRAMs as well as 5 nm node for SoCs. Looks like leading-edge fabrication technologies, including 4nm and 3nm, will continue to be initially used at Samsung Foundry's V1 fab near Hwaseong, South Korea.
“For the memory business, where Samsung has maintained its undisputed leadership position, the company will continue to make preemptive investments to lead the industry,” said Dr. Kinam Kim.