Samsung to invest up to $4B to make chips for mobile devices in Austin


Samsung Electronics says it will invest $3 – $4 billion to upgrade an Austin memory-chip making plant so that it can produce chips for mobile devices. That’s almost twice as much as the company reportedly invested in a South Korean chip-making facility earlier this year. It’s also the largest investment ever made in Texas by a non-U.S. company.

Samsung (005930.KS) plays on both sides of the mobile device market, making chips for its own devices as well as for those produced by its arch-rival Apple (AAPL). The A5 processor that powers the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 is made by Samsung in Austin.

Like its Chinese rival Huawei, Samsung is investing heavily in mobile processors as a way to benefit from the demand for mobile devices and exercise more control over its own supply chain. Production at the Austin plant is expected to be in full swing by the second half of next year.

Part of Samsung’s investment in the Austin plant will be spent retraining workers from the plant’s memory-chip making division, which was closed last month. The South Korean company currently employes about 2,500 people in Austin, and will add about 2,000 temporary jobs to retrofit the factory during the next year.

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Martha DeGrasse

Wireless Martha DeGrasse has been creating content for RCR Wireless News since 2011. Recent feature reports include Building Tomorrow's Neworks, Outdoor DAS and Small Cell Case Studies, Wireless Infrastructure Service Company Review, and Investing in HetNets. (All of these can be found by clicking on Reports at the top of this page.) At RCR, Martha also developed the 5 Things to Know Today series and the Mobile Minute. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her on Twitter @mdegrasseRCR