Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee came out of a four-week isolation rule for new inmates at the Seoul detention center and can now accept visitors, raising expectations for accelerated investment plans amid dire chip shortage around the world.
Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics and de facto head of South Korea’s largest conglomerate Samsung Group, went to isolation soon after he was re-imprisoned over a bribery case.
Samsung’s chief has been put behind bars again to finish his 30-month jail term after he lost the appeal case on bribery charges involving impeached President Park Geun-hye last month at a time when a number of pending issues demand his attention, mostly his signing in multibillion-dollar chip spending.
Samsung Electronics has pledged to expand chip production in Pyeongtaek, Korea and in Texas, the U.S. The chip giant is about to start building its Plant 3 in Pyeongtaek for memory and foundry facilities with over 30 trillion won ($27 billion) earmarked for the project.
The world’s largest chipmaker’s ramp-up plans are being closely watched as it is the only chipmaker who can afford to significantly beef up its foundry capabilities amid a dire shortage of chips that have been disrupting the production of major automakers.
The company, which sits on a cash hoard of $91 billion, also is among the select few who can afford to go after automotive chip makers such as NXP, Infineon, or STMicroelectronics through M&As or equity investment.
Shares of Samsung Electronics rose 0.8 percent to end Tuesday at 84,900 won.
By Lee Jong-hyuk and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]