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Monday, December 06, 2004
Samsung to boost chip production

South Korean chipmaker Samsung is to invest 25 trillion won ($24bn; 12.36bn) building new chip production lines over the next six years.

The plan was revealed by Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-Hee as Samsung bosses met to mark the firm's 30th anniversary in the semiconductor business.

He also announced a chip sales target of 200 trillion won by 2010.

In September, Samsung warned chip sales were set to halve next year due to a glut in the market.

However, Monday's news echoed previous gyrations in the chip market, which often swings from glut to dearth and back.

The company said it expected its latest chip investment to create 10,000 new jobs.

Samsung forecast record sales for 2004, about 60% higher than in 2003, when it had revenues of 43.58 trillion won.

"Pre-emptive investment is critical to success in the chip industry," Lee Kun-Hee said in a statement.

He said the semiconductor industry should serve as a key "growth engine" for the South Korean economy as it has been in the past.

He also pointed out that adventurous investment had made microchips the nation's leading export item.

Chips accounted for 10% of South Korea's entire exports in the nine months to September, worth nearly $20bn.

Last year Samsung was the world's second largest maker of semiconductors, both memory and non-memory chips, up from fourth in 1999, according to industry watcher Dataquest.

It has been the world's leading DRAM (dynamic randon access memory) chipmaker for almost a decade.

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