samsung Electronics and ASML Holding N.V. have committed to jointly invest 1 trillion won ($760 million) in establishing a cutting-edge research and development (R&D) facility in South Korea. This strategic move, sealed with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at ASML's Veldhoven headquarters, aims to propel the development of advanced memory chips leveraging ASML's state-of-the-art extreme ultraviolet (EUV) equipment.
The R&D center, a pioneering endeavor for ASML as its first overseas facility established in conjunction with a semiconductor giant, will primarily focus on refining ultra-fine manufacturing processes for semiconductors utilizing ASML's latest EUV technology.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol's presence during the MOU signing ceremony at ASML's head office underscores the symbolic significance of this partnership. Details such as ownership ratios and spending distribution remain undisclosed.
This collaboration is pivotal for Samsung, which targets the commercialization of 2-nanometer chips by 2025, following the mass production of 3nm chips in the previous year. ASML's expertise in EUV scanners for the 2nm process positions the partnership strategically amid intense competition with its rival TSML.
The deal extends beyond the R&D facility, as ASML initiated the construction of a customer education and equipment support service center near Samsung's manufacturing base in Hwaseong. This additional investment by ASML, totaling around 320 billion won, demonstrates a commitment to fostering long-term collaboration.
SK Hynix is also part of the semiconductor alliance, signing an MOU with ASML to develop hydrogen gas recycling technology for EUV machines, aiming to reduce power consumption and costs significantly.
The collaboration is not limited to business interests; it extends to education. South Korea and the Dutch government have signed an MOU to jointly nurture semiconductor talent, with three South Korean graduate schools collaborating with Dutch companies and institutions.
President Yoon Suk Yeol's visit to the Netherlands aims to forge a “chip alliance” between South Korea and the Netherlands, emphasizing the pivotal role of semiconductors in bilateral ties. This partnership holds paramount industry significance as the semiconductor sector becomes a strategic focal point amid global competition, particularly with China. Export restrictions on advanced chip-making equipment to China have intensified competition and tensions, making Yoon stress the strategic importance of the semiconductor industry.