Indiana governor to visit Korea for investments from Samsung, LG

Samsung SDI CEO Choi Yoon-ho, third from left, and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, fourth from left, pose with representatives from Stellantis and the state government of Indiana, during a signing ceremony to establish the two companies’ joint venture in Kokomo, Indiana, in this May 24 file photo. Courtesy of Samsung SDI

Holcomb may meet Lee Jae-yong to attract chip investments

By Park Jae-hyuk

Samsung and LG have come into the spotlight ahead of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s two-day visit to Korea later this week, intended to attract investments for his state’s electric vehicle (EV) battery and semiconductor industries, according to industry officials and foreign media, Tuesday.

The governor will depart for Korea on Wednesday from Taiwan, where he has been staying since Sunday.

He told an Indiana news outlet that his delegation will meet with executives of numerous Korean companies, including Samsung. He is also scheduled to attend a forum of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea on Friday to speak on Indiana’s commitment to innovation.

“I couldn’t be more energized to spend this week building new relationships, reinforcing long-time ones and strengthening key sector partnerships with Taiwan and South Korea,” Holcomb said earlier this week.

He is highly likely to meet with Samsung SDI CEO Choi Yoon-ho once again, following their previous meeting in May, when the Korean battery maker hosted a signing ceremony with Stellantis for their $2.5 billion investment to establish a joint venture in Kokomo, Indiana.

Although Samsung SDI declined to confirm its CEO’s schedule, the company is expected to discuss details about its investment with the governor and any plans to make additional investments there.

LG Energy Solution (LGES) is another Korean firm Holcomb may visit, given that Reuters reported last Thursday that the battery maker and General Motors are considering a site in Indiana for the fourth U.S.-based battery plant of their joint venture, Ultium Cells.

According to the report, an Ultium Cells spokeswoman said that the company is developing a competitive business case for a potential large investment that could be located in New Carlisle, Indiana, adding that it had submitted a tax abatement application that it hopes will be approved later this month.

Attention has therefore been focused on whether LGES will make an official announcement on its investment in Indiana during the governor’s visit to Korea.

There is also speculation that Holcomb may meet with Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, considering the fact that the governor met with semiconductor industry officials in Taiwan and mentioned the decision of MediaTek, a Taiwanese fabless chip designer, to build a design center in Indiana in collaboration with Purdue University.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb answers questions from the press in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday. Reuters-Yonhap

“Taiwan is willing and able to strengthen cooperation with democratic partners in building sustainable supply chains for democracy chips,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said in a meeting with Holcomb at her office in Taipei on Monday.

When U.S. President Joe Biden invited Samsung Electronics President Choi Si-young to a teleconference on the semiconductor supply chain in March, Holcomb was among the participants in the meeting.

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