[EDITORIALS]Bold investment, new jobsSamsung Electronics Co. has launched a project to build a new semiconductor plant complex in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi province, with the total investment of $33 billion by 2012. When the new complex is completed, it will be part of the world’s largest cluster of semiconductor plants, together with existing ones in Giheung and the first-stage Hwaseong complex. Samsung hopes to increase its annual sales volume to $61 billion from $16 billion by the time the construction of additional plants is completed. This means that the company would become the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, surpassing Intel, the current top chipmaker.
It is interesting that Samsung decided to make such a large investment while it faces visible and invisible pressures on it. Success in the semiconductor industry depends on a bold decision to invest and highly advanced technology that can support that decision. Samsung became a leader of the world’s semiconductor industry by winning in such competiton. The latest decision is an extension of that survival strategy.
The plan, large in jobs as well as investment, came at a time when the economy is stagnant and investment is sluggish. Japan’s foremost electronics manufacturers, Sony and Sanyo, are laying off large number of workers now. Samsung’s aggressive expansion plan is a reflection of its vision and confidence as the global leader of the semiconductor industry.
The ripple effect of this large investment doesn’t stop at the success of the company alone. The new complex will create jobs for 14,000 workers, including 5,000 researchers. If we consider the companies that will work in collaboration with Samsung plants and employees at those businesses, the effect of jobs created in secondary and tertiary waves, and income generated by the workers employed there, will be difficult to calculate in money terms. A successful business can make a huge contribution to the local community as well as to the national economy.
This investment plan with such positive effects was held up for a year and half by a regulation banning the construction of new plants in the Seoul metropolitan area. The company is also a target of criticism from public opinion that is unfavorable to big business.
It has become clear, however, what choices are left for us if we are to allow our people lead a better life.