Signaling its intention to focus more on application processors and lessen its reliance on the volatile memory-chip market, Samsung has been given the go-ahead for a $4bn expansion at its facility in Austin, Texas.

Samsung Expansion to Texas Plant Given Go-Ahead
(Credit: Reuters)

Samsung has completed talks with the state government of Texas to complete a $3.9bn (£2.4bn) investment in its Austin chip-making facility. The plans will see Samsung expand it system-chip production lines, as it looks to move more into the smartphone and tablet processor market.

Samsung is currently the world's number one memory-chip manufacturer, but volatile prices and demand for its products will see it bet big on continued high demand for smartphone and tablet chips.

Samsung's largest processor chip customer is ironically Apple - the company with which it is doing battle in courts around the globe, though Samsung did earlier this week drop its injunction requests against Apple products in a number of European countries.

However there have been numerous rumours in recent weeks and months which suggests Apple is looking elsewhere for the processors which will power its next iPhone and iPad.

One of the companies Apple has been rumoured to be in talks with is the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) which is one of the contract chip manufacturers Samsung will be hoping to compete against with this expansion.

"Our ongoing, multibillion-dollar investments in Austin will expand our footprint as a comprehensive semiconductor hub," Woosung Han, president of Samsung Austin Semiconductor, said earlier this month.

The plant in Austin already employees 2,500 workers and is the company's largest facility of its type outside Korea. There is also a design and research centre on the Austin campus with 200 engineers employed there.