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Potain building South Korea’s technological future

More than 50 Potain tower cranes are working on a mega construction project for Samsung as it commits to five new chip plants in South Korea.
Image 1 50 plus Potains including MR600 MR605, 615, 608 series cranes working on the Samsung Electronics manufacturing hub

Samsung Electronics recently announced plans to invest approximately A$365 billion to build five new hubs in South Korea — a big move in line with the government’s ambitious aim to set up a mega semiconductor hub in Yongin, on the outskirts of Seoul.

The investments for the project will continue through to 2042.

The country’s move indicates that it is shoring up the domestic semiconductor production line to secure the supply chain as other countries, including the US, Taiwan, Japan and China, are scrambling to ramp up their domestic chip manufacturing to offset risks to global supply chain disruption.

To enhance the speed of the construction process, over Potain tower cranes were erected for the construction of the first of the plants.

These included Potain MR600, MR605, MR615, and MR608 series cranes. “It is expected that we would invest about 300 trillion KRW (A$365 billion) in the chip-making cluster through to 2042,” a spokesperson at Samsung said.

South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) unveiled its new project in a bid to invest A$670 billion by 2026 to promote six core technologies: semiconductors, electric vehicle batteries, autonomous vehicles, robots, displays and biotechnology.

The government said it would earmark A$412 billion specifically for the chip space to develop system semiconductors by 2026, considering “semiconductors as strategic economic support and national security assets.”

The mega semiconductor hub will also have a whole value chain of chip-making processes – from memory, foundry and design houses to material suppliers – and attract 150 domestic and global fabless companies and advanced chip materials and equipment makers, per the announcement by the country’s trade ministry.

The South Korean government wants to foster high-tech industries by working with corporations and intends to offer expanded tax breaks for companies in the advanced tech space, the statement says.

South Korea is not the only country to be making big moves to build out its own manufacturing operations. Japan has been partnering with global semiconductor and chip equipment makers to revive its own semiconductor industry.

The world’s largest contract chip producer, Taiwan Semiconductor Company (TSMC), also has been expanding its manufacturing footprint both domestically and overseas in the U.S. and Japan.

Samsung already operates a foundry chip facility in Austin, Texas, and it has recently announced additional investment plans for the A$27 billion earmarked to build a manufacturing facility in Taylor, Texas.

In addition, it is considering investing A$317 billion to set up a further 11 chip plants in Texas.

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