Samsung and Arm Forge Deeper Ties in AI Chip Race | Be Korea-savvy

Samsung and Arm Forge Deeper Ties in AI Chip Race

Samsung Electronics Hwaseong Campus (Image courtesy of Samsung Electronics)

Samsung Electronics Hwaseong Campus (Image courtesy of Samsung Electronics)

SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Korea Bizwire) – Semiconductor firms worldwide are engaged in fierce competition to secure a leading position in cutting-edge foundry process technology, particularly driven by the surging demand in the artificial intelligence (AI) chip market. Companies are forming strategic alliances with strong partners to enhance their competitiveness in this rapidly growing sector. 

Samsung Electronics announced on February 21 that it is expanding its collaboration with UK-based semiconductor design company Arm to strengthen its competitiveness in Gate-All-Around (GAA) foundry process technology.

This partnership aims to optimize Arm’s next-generation System-on-Chip (SoC) design assets for Samsung’s advanced GAA processes, making it easier for fabless clients to access Arm’s latest central processing units (CPUs) for generative AI SoC development.

Arm has been in the spotlight in the semiconductor industry, especially after its stock price surged following recent earnings announcements fueled by optimistic growth projections in the AI chip sector.

Samsung, which has been collaborating with Arm for over a decade, has applied Arm’s CPU intellectual property across various foundry processes. This GAA process collaboration is a continuation of their long-standing partnership. 

In June 2022, Samsung became the first company in the world to mass-produce 3-nanometer (nm) processes using the next-generation GAA transistor architecture, whereas TSMC, the leading foundry, produces 3nm processes based on the traditional FinFET transistor structure.

Samsung aims to continue the stable production of 3nm processes and the development of 2nm processes with its competitive GAA technology to increase its market share in fast-growing applications like AI accelerators. 

According to KB Securities analyst Kim Dong-won, there has been a surge in inquiries from global foundry companies looking to produce AI accelerators and custom AI chips (NPUs) at Samsung Foundry, mainly due to the limited options for advanced processes and Samsung’s relative advantage in GAA process stability compared to TSMC.

Intel, a latecomer to the foundry business, is also accelerating its foundry initiatives. The company announced its first ‘Direct Connect’ event to showcase its process technology roadmap and operational strategy for Intel Foundry Services (IFS).

The event, to be held on February 21 in San Jose, California, will feature attendance from Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, which is actively seeking to build an AI semiconductor alliance and has been in extensive discussions with the global semiconductor industry for its own AI chip development. 

Altman, who is pursuing a $7 trillion investment for AI chip production, is expected to highlight the importance of semiconductors in the AI field at the Intel event.

Following Intel’s re-entry into the foundry business in March 2021, the company announced significant investment plans and unexpectedly revealed a prototype wafer using the 18A process, equivalent to 1.8nm, at its annual developer event last September, aiming for mass production by 2025. 

Currently, only TSMC and Samsung are capable of mass-producing sub-5nm foundry processes worldwide, making Intel’s 1.8nm process a more advanced proposition than the 3nm processes being produced by these two companies. 

The semiconductor industry’s focus on state-of-the-art foundry processes is driven by the anticipated expansion of foundry orders and market growth due to the increasing number of AI devices.

Market research firm Omdia forecasts an average annual growth rate of 13.8% for the global foundry market from 2023 to 2026, with sub-5nm advanced processes leading the growth. These processes, which accounted for 24.8% of total sales last year, are expected to rise to 41.2% by 2026, according to Omdia’s projections.

Kevin Lee ( 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>