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Samsung and ASML to invest $760 million to build an advanced chip plant in South Korea

Florence Lo | Reuters

Dutch manufacturer of chip-making equipment ASML will jointly invest 1 trillion South Korean won ($760 million) with South Korean chipmaker Samsung Electronics to build a plant that develops cutting-edge semiconductor processing technology in South Korea.

The announcement came as South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol is in the Netherlands for a four-day visit which seeks to forge a “semiconductor alliance” between the two countries.

ASML is the world’s only maker of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines that are required to manufacture the most advanced chips such as those in the latest Apple iPhones which are manufactured by Taiwan’s TSMC.

“The technological innovation led by ASML is becoming a powerful driving force of the Fourth Industrial Revolution around the world, and Dutch semiconductor companies such as ASML and ASM are building new facilities for production, R&D, and talent training in Korea,” South Korea’s presidential office said Tuesday.

Yoon visited the headquarters of ASML on Tuesday with King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, and toured the production site of next-generation EUV machines.

‘Turning point’ for Korea-Netherlands ties

Samsung is the world’s largest maker for dynamic random-access memory chips, which are used in consumer devices such as smartphones and computers. South Korean chipmakers rely on ASML’s EUV machines to produce faster and more efficient chips than competitors.

How Samsung became the world's second biggest advanced chipmaker

The statement also said ASML will collaborate with South Korean chip giant SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest DRAM chipmaker, to reduce power usage and costs for EUVs through hydrogen gas recycling technology.

Ahead of his visit to the Netherlands, Yoon told media outlet AFP that semiconductors are “the linchpin of Korea-Netherlands cooperation.”

“The Netherlands is home to ASML, which produces the lithography equipment that makes semiconductors, and for years the two countries have worked together ‘in an exemplary manner,” the president said at that time.

“[This] will mark a crucial turning point for the Korea-Netherlands semiconductor alliance.”

He said this visit to the Netherlands will help both countries “establish a well-organized institutional framework that will intensively address global semiconductor supply chains,” even as semiconductors emerge as strategic assets and geopolitical risks surrounding global supply chains grow.

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