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Samsung considering historic $200 billion investment in Austin-area chipmaking facilities

The Austin skyline

Samsung’s proposed 11 new chipmaking facilities could bring 10,000 jobs to the Austin area in the next few decades. | Photo by @giovannisabala

In case you haven’t heard, Samsung Electronics is considering building almost a dozen new chipmaking facilities in the Austin area — to the tune of about $200 billion.

The economic investment could be the largest in Central Texas’ history, and has the potential to bring 10,000 jobs to the area.

The proposal is almost shockingly large — but it’s not so shocking that the tech giant would continue to invest in an area it’s already growing roots in.

Samsung has had operations in Austin since 1997, and last year announced it would open a $17 billion chipmaking facility in Taylor. That news was big enough in itself, given the small town northeast of Austin has a population of ~17,000, and the plant is expected to bring a minimum of 2,000 jobs + occupy 1,000 acres of land.

Now, the electronics company has filed incentives applications for 11 new fabrication plants in Taylor and Manor’s school districts for a total $192.1 billion in capital investment.

The plans call for about 1,800 new jobs in Austin + 8,200 jobs in Taylor.

But let’s set aside the local economic impact for one moment, and talk about how much this development could put Central Texas on the map, both nationally and internationally.

There’s a global shortage of semiconductors, which require hard-to-get materials that are getting caught up in supply chain issues.

Most chips are manufactured in China, but the products are necessary for everything from cellphones to home appliances, meaning US politicians have a strong interest in producing more of them on American soil. And on Tuesday, the US Senate voted to advance $54 billion in subsidies + tax breaks for US semiconductor companies.

All in all, Central Texas making a name for itself as a chipmaking hub could be a pretty good long-term move for the region.

Now it’s time for the qualifiers. This plan is in its earliest stages, and there’s no guarantee Samsung will follow through. This construction is also a long way out: the proposed plants aren’t expected to be up and running for more than a decade.

This includes a 640-acre site in Austin containing two plants offering 900 jobs each, one to be completed in 2034 and the other to be completed in 2042. The current Taylor site would also receive nine new fabrication plants, with one coming online each year between 2034 and 2042.

Construction on the town-transforming Taylor facility is already underway, and the plant is expected to be operational by the first half of 2024.