Samsung's Strategic Advances to Dominate AI Chip Manufacturing

Published June 13, 2024

At the heart of the tech industry's push towards increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities lies the need for highly advanced semiconductor chips. Samsung Electronics Co., a leader in memory chips, is escalating its efforts to be at the forefront of the AI revolution by capturing a larger share of the foundry market, which consists of manufacturing custom-designed chips for clients. At its annual foundry forum, Samsung showcased its ambitious technology roadmap designed to appeal to AI chip creators.

Competitive Foundry Landscape

Despite being the top memory-chip maker globally, Samsung has been playing catch-up with the foundry industry leader, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). The foundry market is fiercely competitive, with Samsung holding 11% compared to TSMC's substantial 61.7% market share. However, Samsung is not deterred as the company is making inroads due to the increasing demand for AI computing components. These demands are boosting Samsung's outsource production prospects while also fueling their memory chip sector.

Challenges and Opportunities

Samsung recognizes that to win substantial foundry business, especially from big players in AI such as Nvidia Corp., it must demonstrate advanced and dependable manufacturing processes. Intel Corp.'s entrance into the outsourcing arena adds to the challenge, applying pressure on Samsung to differentiate its offerings. A crucial differentiator for Samsung is its advancements in transistor technology, which is central to improving chip performance. Its latest technology features backside power delivery network (PDN) for efficient power management and is expected to be a game-changer in AI processor production.

Innovative Process Technologies

With AI chips requiring high-level performance, Samsung is pushing the envelope with smaller transistor dimensions. The company's focus on innovation led them to introduce ground-breaking developments such as gate-all-around (GAA) technology and progression to mass-produce chips using a second-generation 3-nanometer process. Plans to scale down to a 1.4-nanometer process by 2027 are well underway, with Samsung being optimistic about meeting performance and yield targets for mass production.

Looking Ahead in AI

As Samsung directs its resources to accelerate the growth of its AI chip production, the company's estimations point to an expanded customer base and a significant boost in revenue over the coming years. While Samsung keeps its negotiations and progress with clients like Nvidia under wraps, it remains confident its suite of services including logic, memory, and advanced packaging will attract a surge in outsourced semiconductor orders relating to AI.

Samsung, AI, semiconductor