South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest chipmaker, is seeking to build a new plant in China to produce high-tech NAND flash memory chips, the Seoul government said Wednesday.
The move that could lead to technology leaks was filed by Samsung on Dec. 6 and was approved Wednesday by a government committee on industrial technology security, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
"The Ministry of Knowledge Economy made the decision after holding two industrial technology security committee meetings to evaluate the company's plans for technology protection, as well as its need to expand to China and the possibility of technology leaks," the ministry said in a news release.
Samsung still needs approval for its new plant from the Chinese government but plans to begin building the plant later this year once all the administrative procedures are completed, according to the ministry.
The site of the plant has yet to be decided. Once built, the plant will produce 10,000 12-inch wafers per month, it said.
Normally, a request to build an overseas plant is reviewed only based on the possibility of technology leaks, the ministry noted, but the government said it also considered the impact on the South Korean economy in Samsung's case.
"Considering its importance, the committee requested Samsung to come up with measures to address concerns over the possible shrinking of its investment in the local market and the impact it will have on the country's economy," the ministry said.
Samsung has agreed to maintain the level of its use of parts produced in South Korea in making its final products manufactured in China while also expanding its investment here, it added. (Yonhap News)