Samsung Electronics' office building in Austin (Samsung Electronics)
With Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of Samsung Electronics, currently in the US, industry observers expect the company to decide on the final location for its second foundry plant in the US, according to news reports Wednesday.
Some US media based in Texas reported Tuesday that the South Korean chipmaker appeared to have narrowed down its list of candidate sites for the new foundry fab believed to be worth $17 billion.
It was found that Samsung has withdrawn its application filed in January with Manor Independent School District in Travis County, Texas, for corporate tax incentives.
The same type of document filed in July with the city of Taylor can still be found on the city’s public website, news reports said.
Samsung has been weighing benefits of tax incentives proposed by the two jurisdictions in Texas.
Austin, where Samsung has been running its first foundry plant since 1996, was considered the easiest choice for Samsung to build its second plant.
However, the unprecedented blackout in March due to a winter storm, which stopped the Austin plant for a month, emerged as a key variable for Samsung’s choice for the new fab.
The city of Taylor -- about 50 kilometers from Austin -- has risen as the front-runner in the race since August, as the city offered the Korean tech giant a set of incentives that includes tax rebates for the Samsung plant.
The city council has already passed a resolution to allow for a site of more than 550,000 square meters for Samsung. The document said construction would start in early 2022. Its independent school district has also approved tax incentives for Samsung.
Lee left for Toronto on Sunday, making his first trip to North America in five years.
The Samsung leader then flew to New Jersey, where Samsung’s North America headquarters is located.
Although it has not been confirmed, Lee is said to have been briefed on Samsung’s US operations at the New Jersey headquarters.
As he publicly said before boarding his flight Sunday, Lee is expected to hold meetings with various customers for semiconductors and biopharmaceutical products.
To the question of whether he would meet with Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, Lee said, “I have a plan to visit Boston,” as he nodded.
Some also expect Lee could meet with executives from Pfizer while in New York.