Like his predecessor Donald Trump, US President Joe Biden wants to boost domestic production. South Korea holds out the prospect of billions in investments: Hyundai is planning a factory for the IONIQ 5 electric car, Samsung is planning a chip foundry and a solar power plant. The heads of state of the two countries will meet at the end of May. Then the investment could be an important chip in vaccine poker.
Because South Korea’s government is urgently looking for COVID-19 vaccines. The hope in Seoul: Washington will soon send surplus vaccines, but Korea will return the favor with vaccine deliveries in the opposite direction as soon as its own production is up and running.
For the people, such a trade would be the most desirable outcome of the US-Korea summit planned for the end of May, as a survey carried out on behalf of the Korean industry association FKI shows: 31.2 percent of the thousand respondents consider a vaccine swap to be the most important goal. The reports Korea JoongAn Daily. In second place (21.1%) is an improvement in relations between Korea and Japan, followed by economic issues. Only 14.8 percent name improving relations with North Korea as the most important goal of the presidential meeting.
18 billion for chips made in the USA
Samsung Electronics is said to be in the final evaluation phase of a project to build a semiconductor factory in Austin, Texas. The reported TheKoreaTimes citing the initiated. The construction of a second factory in Austin would therefore cost 17.9 billion US dollars (14.8 billion euros). The group already operates a foundry in Austin that manufactures chips for Apple, AMD and Qualcomm, among others.
The solar project by Samsung C&T would be smaller. This group company plans to set up solar cells with a total production capacity of 700 megawatts in Milam County, Texas. The investment volume would be 673 million dollars (556 million euros) and could deliver electricity for the first time in December 2023.
IONIQ 5 from Alabama
Hyundai Motors intends to build its new IONIQ 5 electric car in Alabama as well, according to the report. However, none of the named companies wanted to confirm their plans to the Korean newspaper. A new chip factory would certainly help the Korean carmaker, as the current chip shortage has led to a production stop at Hyundai. Kona and IONIQ 5 cars could not be built in Ulsan for eight days.
According to the newspaper report, the South Korean government is even considering releasing a prominent criminal and taking him to meet Biden just to get US vaccines: At the beginning of the year, Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong was imprisoned for two and a half years for bribery. In addition, the Samsung manager is charged with stock manipulation and accounting fraud. But of course the planned “factory billions against vaccine loan” deal only has a chance of success if investor Samsung clearly pulls the same rope in the same direction.