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Former Samsung Electronics CEO interview

Daniel Nenni

Staff member
My favorites:

“Have prices fallen because of oversupply? Generally, there’s an undersupply. Automakers are hard pressed to find chips for vehicles. Five or six years ago [in 2015], China dumped around 300 trillion won (US$270 billion) into the semiconductor sector in the hope of catching up with Samsung, but look at those efforts now. China is nowhere near to achieving that goal.”

“When China announced its plan to become a manufacturing powerhouse by 2025 and to localize around 70% of semiconductor production as part of that plan, it prompted the US to launch countermeasures. In retrospect, China appears to have gotten ahead of itself.”

That is an understatement. China is a culture of copying others. This no longer works in the semiconductor industry. Secrets are much better protected and technology moves too fast. China will be stuck at the trailing edge of process technologies for years to come, absolutely.

“Once Biden became president, US efforts to contain China intensified. Under Trump, the US had a simple strategy of putting sanctions on China. But Biden is tightening the supply of semiconductors while also pressuring China on human rights issues. His approach is less boisterous but much scarier.”

Agreed, but Trump set up Biden for success, my opinion.

"There are limits to Samsung’s growth potential in the dedicated foundry sector as long as it doesn’t split off its operations into completely separate companies. Samsung might grow to half the size of TSMC, but pushing past TSMC doesn’t seem practical to me. And even if Samsung could do that, it wouldn’t be desirable."

Samsung has stumbled it's way through the logic foundry business. Logic is nothing like memory which is Samsung's core strength. The foundry business is a service business that TSMC has perfected. I see no possibility of Samsung or Intel making a profit in this business. Especially now that TSMC has very strong management (CC Wei) and has been openly challenged by Samsung, Intel and China.