Samsung will manufacture 3nm chips for Nvidia, Baidu, Qualcomm and IBM

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In context: Samsung will use its most advanced manufacturing process to make chips for four well-known technology companies. The race to overtake TSMC as the world’s largest chip foundry is on, while geopolitical conflicts are tearing the old economic balance apart.

Samsung has been chosen as manufacturing partner by four of the biggest technology corporations in the world, according to unnamed industry sources. Nvidia, Qualcomm, IBM and Baidu will employ the South Korean company’s newest manufacturing process to put their future products on the market, while Samsung hopes to gain ground on TSMC in the chip foundry race.

Samsung will use the recently unveiled 3-nanometer node to provide the fabless companies chip supplies in large quantities starting as early as 2024. Nvidia will use the 3nm node to build its next-generation GPUs, IBM will make its own CPUs, Qualcomm needs Arm chips for smartphones, and Baidu will use 3nm for its cloud data centers.

Samsung started mass manufacturing 3nm chips back in June. The company says their newest manufacturing technology brings substantial improvements for power efficiency (45%) and chip performance (23%) compared to the previous-gen 5nm node.

A second generation 3nm process is already in development, as Samsung states there is still a lot of room for further efficiency and performance improvements.

While the company is making strides in the 3nm race, Samsung is the second biggest chip foundry sitting way behind TSMC, who roughly triples Samsung in market share. TSMC is working to expand its manufacturing reach outside Taiwan, with new plants in the US to begin with. Meanwhile, Samsung already has an international business approach, as they own manufacturing plants in South Korea (Giheung, Hwaseong, Pyeongtaek), USA (Austin, Taylor) and China (Xian).

Samsung is well known for leading the memory business, but the current geopolitical situation could help them gain ground over TSMC to become a rival manufacturing super-power. Many “big tech” companies are searching for new partnerships as well, in the effort to decrease their reliance on China-based manufacturers amid the growing diplomatic and economic conflict between Washington and Beijing.

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