Samsung Electronics is planning to start operation of its P3 semiconductor production line at its Pyeongtaek plant three months earlier than planned due to the global chip shortage, according the president of EcoPro HN, a supplier to the South Korean tech giant.
Samsung had requested that EcoPro HN supply its filter products by December, instead of the previous deadline of early-2022, EcoPro HN president Yoon Seong-jin said at EcoPro’s conference call for the first quarter on Tuesday. The South Korean tech giant is planning to start the operation of the P3 line three months earlier then planned due to the issue of the recent chip shorage, the president said.
This is the first time that Samsung’s plans related to P3 __ in this case its construction timeline __ being made public.
EcoPro HN was recently formed by splitting away from parent company EcoPro. It supplies chemical filter, dust remover and other environmental products.
P3 is Samsung’s third chip production line at its Pyeongtaek plant in South Korea. Construction for it began in the second half of last year.
P3’s production capacity and how much the conglomerate plans to spend on it is yet unknown. People familiar with the matter said it is highly likely that the line will be used to manufacture memory chips as well as for foundry, or contract chip production. Global foundry companies such as TSMC and Samsung are currently seeing a surge in orders and running their manufacturing plants at full capacity due to the current chip shortage.
Samsung is planning to build a total of six lines at its Pyeongtaek plant. The completion of P3 will mean half of the plant’s space has been filled.
P3 is expected to start operation in the first half of 2023. However, the people said this could be pulled earlier to early-2023 or even 2022, due to the current global chip shortage.
Samsung was expected to announce its spending plan for P3 earlier this year, one of the people said, but this has been delayed due to vice chairman Lee Jae-yong, the leader of the entire business group, being jailed.
It was unusual that an executive of a supplier __ in this case EcoPro HN __ had made a public comment related to Samsung’s spending plan, they said.
The South Korean tech giant may announce its spending plan for the US and South Korea around the time that South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and US President Joe Biden meet this month, they added.
Another one of the people said Samsung had recently put in equipment in its research lab to its actual production line at its Hwaseong chip plant. Currently, there was a general atmosphere of desire to expand chip production capacity in South Korea’s chip industry, from Samsung to suppliers, they said. Spending in the industry could be exceptionally large and happen fast this year, they added.