Lee Jae-yong’s US trip indicators his return to Samsung management

Right after staying under the radar for a lot more than three months because his parole in August, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Sunday unveiled himself at an airport in Seoul leaving for an abroad small business excursion for chips and vaccine, signaling his return to the forefront of administration.

The Samsung Electronics executive arrived at Seoul Gimpo Business enterprise Aviation Middle at about 7:45 a.m. on Sunday and hopped on a Korean Air constitution flight to Canada following briefly speaking to the push.

Though aspects stay unclear, Lee is initially anticipated to pay a visit to Samsung’s synthetic intelligence lab in Toronto and head to the US afterward to finalize the web-site range for the firm’s new $17 billion chip foundry plant.

Requested no matter if he would finalize the foundry investment decision plan in the US, Lee claimed, “I will meet a lot of (semiconductor) partners.”

In response to a question on whether he will meet up with with a Moderna official, Lee answered, “I will also go to Boston.” The US vaccine maker’s headquarters is centered in Boston.

This is Lee’s to start with overseas organization vacation soon after being introduced from jail in August and his initially organization vacation to the US given that 2016.

The Samsung chief’s direct pay a visit to to the US indicators the 53-calendar year-previous leader’s return to administration of Samsung, which suffered a leadership void for the duration of his absence amid an intensifying world-wide chip war activated by Washington mostly owing to the world scarcity of chips for vehicles amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the chip shortages in the US and other countries, chipmakers were pressured to maximize their foundry ability.

Earlier this year Samsung’s best rival TSMC pledged to commit $100 billion more than the subsequent 3 decades to increase foundry capability. Even though Samsung Electronics’ cash reserves reached a record 209 trillion received ($177.1 billion) in July, the company did not progress with intense chip expansion even though Lee was serving time for bribing ousted previous President Park Geun-hye from January by July.

Throughout his US check out, Lee is expected to meet with community authorities officials and iron out remaining details for the $17 billion foundry plant. Though the city of Taylor in Texas is seen as the strongest contender, Samsung has remaining other alternatives open up, these kinds of as Phoenix in Arizona and upstate New York.

Some check out that Lee could possibly effectively check out Austin in Texas — wherever Samsung’s initial US foundry plant is located — and even meet with Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon. Major purchasers of Samsung are located in close proximity to the Austin plant such as Qualcomm and Nvidia.

Also, it remains to be noticed irrespective of whether Lee will meet with the Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, who agreed to supply the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines produced in Korea for nearby use at Lee’s ask for.

Lee has applied his private connections to get to out to Bancel, as Korea struggled with vaccine shortages. The two agreed to prioritize 2.4 million doses of the Moderna vaccine created at Samsung Biologics’ factory in Songdo, Incheon, to the Korean govt starting off this month.

All eyes are on how the vice chairman would navigate the world’s most important memory chip and cell cellular phone maker and manifest “New Samsung,” a slogan Lee proclaimed on Oct. 25. The day coincided with the to start with anniversary of the dying of his father, Lee Kun-hee.

Underneath the New Samsung eyesight, Samsung declared very last week that it would overhaul its job rating technique to enhance its evaluation and advertising guidelines.

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