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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