Samsung to build new NAND flash factory in China, production in 2013

The electronics giant has received approval from the Korean government and expects construction to start this year.

Samsung Electronics will break ground on a new NAND flash factory in China this year, a spokesman said Thursday, moving production closer to where many advanced devices are manufactured.

The new plant will eventually produce 100,000 12-inch wafers per month using cutting-edge 20-nanometer technology, each of which is cut into multiple memory chips. Construction is to begin this year, with operations to start in 2013, although the exact location has yet to be set, according to company spokesman Nam Ki-Yung.

NAND flash memory is the main memory component in the current generation of digital devices, from smart phones to tablets to ultrabook computers, displacing hard disk drives. Samsung is a major supplier of flash memory even to fierce rivals of its own products, including Apple, which produces much of its products at the Chinese operations of manufacturers like Foxconn.

Samsung received approval from the Korean government on Wednesday, and is still awaiting approval from the Chinese side. The Korean government cleared the plan after evaluating Samsung's plan for technology protection in China, and measures by the company to address concerns about its shrinking investment in the country, according to reports.

The company did not release information on its investment in the new plant. A local media report quoted a Samsung executive as saying it will be between 3.5 trillion and 4 trillion won (US$3 billion to US$3.5 billion).

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