Pricey project

Tech giant may be chipping in $10 billion for new factory in Austin

Tech giant may be chipping in $10 billion for new factory in Austin

Samsung factory plant Northeast Austin
Samsung's $10 billion investment would be 10 times bigger than that of Apple or Tesla. Photo courtesy of GSA Architects

So, you thought the $1 billion Apple campus and the $1.1 billion Tesla plant were big deals for Austin. Well, there’s now word that tech giant Samsung is considering construction of a $10 billion-plus chipmaking plant in Austin.

Citing unnamed sources, the Bloomberg news service reported January 22 that Samsung has drawn up preliminary plans for the factory. Construction could begin this year, and the plant could be up and running in 2023. It’s unknown how many employees Samsung would add to operate the new manufacturing site.

Bloomberg notes that in October, Samsung bought 258 acres next to its existing Austin operations. Two months later, the Austin City Council approved Samsung’s request to rezone that property for industrial development, although it was unclear at the time what that development would entail.

“Samsung is so often a source of good news in Austin, whether it’s about jobs, education, workforce development, housing or helping the homeless,” Mayor Steve Adler said in 2016.

In 1997, Samsung opened a $1.4 billion chipmaking factory near East Parmer Lane and Dessau Road in Northeast Austin, the South Korean conglomerate’s first semiconductor plant in the U.S. Ten years later, Samsung opened a $3.5 billion chip manufacturing plant at the same location. In 2016, Samsung announced it would spend $1 billion to upgrade its 300-acre Austin manufacturing complex.

Over time, Samsung has invested about $17 billion in its local presence. The Nikkei Asia news outlet noted in December that Samsung views its Austin manufacturing campus as “playing a vital role in wooing orders from American tech companies.”

The Austin Business Journal ranks Samsung as the 12th largest corporate employer in the Austin area, with a 3,300-member workforce. The Korea Herald reported in December that Samsung had been ramping up hiring in Austin in recent months, bringing aboard more than 400 new employees. As of January 22, the Samsung website listed 38 job openings, mainly for engineers.

Samsung’s potential expansion comes as Tesla continues construction of its auto manufacturing plant near Southeast Austin and Apple works on its second office campus in Northwest Austin. Last year, Site Selection magazine ranked Austin as the country’s sixth best metro area for corporate relocation and expansion.