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Lee Jae-yong’s US journey signals his return to Samsung administration

Soon after staying less than the radar for more than a few months given that his parole in August, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong on Sunday uncovered himself at an airport in Seoul leaving for an overseas business enterprise vacation for chips and vaccine, signaling his return to the forefront of management.

The Samsung Electronics govt arrived at Seoul Gimpo Company Aviation Middle at all over 7:45 a.m. on Sunday and hopped on a Korean Air constitution flight to Canada just after briefly conversing to the push.

Nevertheless details keep on being unclear, Lee is first predicted to check out Samsung’s artificial intelligence lab in Toronto and head to the US afterward to finalize the web page variety for the firm’s new $17 billion chip foundry plant.

Questioned whether he would finalize the foundry financial commitment strategy in the US, Lee said, “I will meet several (semiconductor) associates.”

In response to a query on whether or not he will meet up with with a Moderna formal, Lee answered, “I will also take a look at Boston.” The US vaccine maker’s headquarters is dependent in Boston.

This is Lee’s to start with overseas small business trip just after currently being released from jail in August and his very first business enterprise vacation to the US since 2016.

The Samsung chief’s immediate go to to the US indicators the 53-year-outdated leader’s return to administration of Samsung, which endured a management void all through his absence amid an intensifying worldwide chip war induced by Washington largely owing to the world wide lack of chips for cars amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of to the chip shortages in the US and other nations, chipmakers ended up pressured to improve their foundry capability.

Earlier this 12 months Samsung’s greatest rival TSMC pledged to spend $100 billion about the subsequent a few many years to boost foundry capacity. While Samsung Electronics’ income reserves attained a history 209 trillion received ($177.1 billion) in July, the enterprise did not commence with aggressive chip expansion when Lee was serving time for bribing ousted former President Park Geun-hye from January by July.

During his US pay a visit to, Lee is anticipated to fulfill with nearby federal government officers and iron out final particulars for the $17 billion foundry plant. When the metropolis of Taylor in Texas is seen as the strongest contender, Samsung has remaining other selections open, this kind of as Phoenix in Arizona and upstate New York.

Some look at that Lee may possibly effectively stop by Austin in Texas — where Samsung’s to start with US foundry plant is found — and even fulfill with Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon. Big consumers of Samsung are located in close proximity to the Austin plant which include Qualcomm and Nvidia.

Also, it continues to be to be observed irrespective of whether Lee will satisfy with the Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, who agreed to supply the initially batch of COVID-19 vaccines created in Korea for nearby use at Lee’s ask for.

Lee has used his personal connections to arrive at out to Bancel, as Korea struggled with vaccine shortages. The two agreed to prioritize 2.4 million doses of the Moderna vaccine manufactured at Samsung Biologics’ manufacturing facility in Songdo, Incheon, to the Korean government setting up this thirty day period.

All eyes are on how the vice chairman would navigate the world’s major memory chip and cell mobile phone maker and manifest “New Samsung,” a slogan Lee proclaimed on Oct. 25. The date coincided with the first anniversary of the demise of his father, Lee Kun-hee.

Less than the New Samsung eyesight, Samsung announced final week that it would overhaul its work rating program to upgrade its evaluation and advertising insurance policies.

(kbw@heraldcorp.com)