Sunday, May 16, 2021

Samsung's semiconductors and vaccines in the Moon-Biden summit


Semiconductors are in the news these days in advance of President Moon Jae-In's summit meeting with U.S. President Biden in Washington, D.C.  As reported by The Korea Times, "The government announced Thursday that it will help establish the world's largest semiconductor supply chain in Korea by 2030 in cooperation with firms in the private sector, including Samsung Electronics and SK hynix, to make the country a global leader in both memory and system chips. To achieve this auspicious goal, the administration said it will provide huge tax incentives to companies constructing semiconductor facilities, after chip manufacturers vowed to invest more than 510 trillion won ($450 billion) for this and research and development (R&D) by the target year."   The announcement was made during a meeting at a Samsung Electronics chip making plant in Pyeongtaek (click on the picture for a full-size version of the graphic).

What makes this announcement even more interesting are reports in Korean media that Samsung may be set to reach a "vaccine swap" with its investment in U.S.-based chip manufacturing.  As reported by The Korea Times in a separate article, "Samsung's biotechnology affiliate is set to reach a "vaccine swap" in return for the conglomerate's semiconductor unit investing billions of dollars to boost memory chip production in the United States. A few days before Moon's visit to Washington, D.C., Cheong Wa Dae said the two leaders are set to explore during the summit the best possible ways to boost bilateral cooperation in vaccines. More specifically, Lee Ho-seung, the President's chief policy secretary, said the U.S. has a strong interest in turning South Korea into a global vaccine production hub. Lee explained that the plan makes sense, since the U.S. possesses vaccine patents and raw materials, while South Korea possesses the world's second-highest drug manufacturing capacity."

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