SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Samsung Electronics, the world's largest maker of memory chips, planned to build a semiconductor plant in China to produce NAND flash memory chips based on 10- nanometer class technology, the economy ministry said Wednesday.
According to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Samsung submitted an application for the factory construction to the ministry on Dec. 6, before getting approval Wednesday. The ministry made the decision after holding two meetings of the industrial technology security committee in a bid to assess the potential technology leaks and the need for the firm to expand to China.
Samsung planned to start building the plant within the first half of this year after being approved by the Chinese government, according to the ministry. The company aimed to begin the factory' s operation in the second half of next year.
The Chinese plant, where 10-nano class NAND flash memory chips were planned to be manufactured, would be able to produce 100,000 wafers of 12-inch size per month after being built. Samsung began operating its latest factory in South Korea from September last year to mass produce 20-nano NAND flash memory chips.
NAND flash memory refers to chips that store information in mobile devices such as table computers and smartphones. Demand for the chips has been fast growing in line with brisk sales of smartphones and tablet PCs.
Samsung planned to build the factory in China as the world's No. 2 economy is emerging as a major chip market. According to Gartner, global demand for NAND flash memory chips was expected to surge to 35.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 from 20.6 billion dollars in 2010, with China's portion of the global demand set to grow from 43 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2015.