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Samsung chief, Dutch PM discuss chip partnership

By Lee Ji-yoon

Published : June 15, 2022 - 15:06

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (left) and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong pose at the prime minister’s office in The Hague, Netherlands, on Tuesday. (Samsung Electronics) Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (left) and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong pose at the prime minister’s office in The Hague, Netherlands, on Tuesday. (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Tuesday met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to discuss chip partnership, especially on a stable supply of cutting-edge equipment for making advanced chips.

Lee, on his two-week Europe trip that started on June 7, was visiting the Netherlands, home to Samsung’s key suppliers, including ASML, the world’s sole producer of extreme ultraviolet lithography systems.

According to industry sources, Lee reportedly asked the Dutch PM to support Samsung in securing more ASML machines that are currently in tight supply due to chip shortages.

Samsung, despite its minority stake in the company, has to compete with its chip rivals to purchase more ASML machines whose price ranges from $200 million to $300 million each. ASML produces less than 40 units of the system every year.

Sources said the two leaders agreed to work together to boost ties of the two countries on chips as well as tackling supply chain disruptions.

Rutte also allegedly showed keen interest in other technologies like ICT, electric vehicles and e-health where Samsung is expected to pour resources to nurture future growth drivers.

Their meeting comes six years since their last in Korea in September 2016. At the time, Lee offered Rutte a personal tour around Samsung’s corporate exhibition center in Seoul and introduced the company’s business plans and latest technologies.

The Netherlands boasts an advanced industrial ecosystem for chipmaking ranging from research and development to equipment and finished products. South Korea, the world’s largest memory chip exporter, has continued bolstering ties with the country.

In his first phone call with the Dutch PM, then President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol stressed his will to help elevate the bilateral partnership between the two countries, calling chips “rice for the future.”

Lee’s latest Europe trip aims to inspect Samsung’s business operations there and shore up his personal network, with his every move and meeting being scrutinized for any links to new deals. He is scheduled to return home Saturday.