MAY 8–AUSTIN, Texas–The $500 million upgrade of the Samsung Austin Semiconductor LLP plant here will add 300 jobs, company President Sung Lee says.
Samsung Austin Semiconductor employs 950 people in Austin. The advanced equipment and plant expansion will allow Samsung to produce nanotechnology chips, according to a company news release.
The Austin plant, owned by Seoul, Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., makes 128- and 256-megabit memory chips, most commonly found in home computers and workstations. After the upgrade, Samsung’s Austin will make 1-gigabit memory chips used in high-end servers, according to Samsung.
The three-year project will add 40,000 square feet of cleanroom space to the existing $1.4 billion plant, built in 1996. The 660,000-square-foot plant is on 300 acres in Northeast Austin.
Samsung’s decision is significant, in light of recent workforce reductions and restructuring at other semiconductor manufacturers with operations in Austin, including Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola Inc.
“With this investment, the Austin community got a big boost in its semiconductor sector,” says Mike Rollins, president of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. “We thought our Silicon Hills were eroding. We now have hope that the semiconductor industry will be here for a long time.”
Estimates from the Austin chamber indicate the additional 300 jobs, with average annual pay of $53,000, will put more than $15 million a year into the Austin economy. This spending, in addition to associated spending on equipment and materials, will mean that as much as $753.3 million will be added to the local Austin economy.
During construction, the expansion could generate about $135.2 million and create more than 1,100 temporary jobs, Rollins says.