ASML to cater to domestic demand with new chip complex
ASML, a Dutch semiconductor equipment supplier, is breaking ground for its chip complex in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, Wednesday.
A day prior to the groundbreaking ceremony, the Veldhoven, Netherlands-based company held a press conference at Coex in southern Seoul, with ASML CEO Peter Wennink in attendance.
The new 16,000-square-meter (72,222-square-foot) Hwaseong Campus, which will be a local repair center and a training facility, will help ASML meet Korean customers’ demand more efficiently amid the rising complexity of the global chip business and technology, said Wennink.
“Our business in Korea with Korean customers will grow significantly,” said Wennink.
“Starting the first significant remanufacturing operation is very important, because it will help bring the technology closer to the customers.”
ASML is the world’s only producer of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machines. EUV lithography equipment is used during the semiconductor manufacturing process to print nodes less than 10 nanometers in width.
Korea made up for about 30 percent, or 6.7 billion euros ($6.9 billion), of ASML’s total revenue, last year.
When the local repair center is complete, Korean chipmakers such as Samsung Electronics and SK hynix will have faster access to repair services with locally sourced parts.
Moreover, the training center at the Hwaseong Campus will contribute to fostering talent in the local chip industry, said Wennink, adding that the new facility will boost the growth of local suppliers and the semiconductor industry as well.
“When you have a remanufacturing site, you are almost automatically looking for local suppliers, and I think it’s a significant opportunity to … grow the Korean supplier base.”
Construction is scheduled to be completed by 2024.
The groundbreaking on Wednesday comes a year after ASML signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gyeonggi provincial government and Hwaseong local government to invest 240 billion won ($181.4 million) in the chip cluster project.
Despite slowing chip demand worldwide, Wennink was confident in ASML’s growth through next year.
“Currently, despite the fact that we are looking at the recessionary environment in 2023, the demand for our product is still higher than we can make,” said Wennink.
“We do not see yet, at all, a reduction of our backlog or our shipment capability in the next 12 months or by the end of next year, because of the fact that we have a very long lead time.”
Wennink emphasized that the chip glut will not hamper the global semiconductor industry’s growth in the long term, as digital transformation, renewable energy transition and recent socio-economic changes such as remote work trends will continue to drive demand in the future.
ASML Korea Country Manager Lee Woo-kyung said that the company, which currently has about 2,000 employees in Korea, will hire an additional 1,400 employees over the next 10 years.
Wennink is expected to meet Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong during his stay in Korea.
Wennink met with Lee during the recently-appointed Samsung Electronics chairman’s visit to the Netherlands in June.
BY SHIN HA-NEE [email@example.com]