First Samsung-Biden meeting isn’t a meeting at all

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Samsung is finally getting its audience with U.S. President Biden, but the occasion won’t be a date so much as a summit. And as for the date, it’s today, with a new report suggesting the U.S. administration is planning a virtual summit of talks over chipmaking strategy with the largest players in the game – Samsung, TSMC, Alphabet, AT&T, and… Ford?

Following months of scheduling, Samsung seize the opportunity to join the discussion – what else than – politics with the recently inaugurated administration. That might not sound terribly exciting, but only because it’s not your geopolitical influence on the line.

Besides, it’s not like the stakes can be much higher from Samsung’s point of view. Especially following several weeks’ worth of bizarre and unfortunate developments that kept its existing chipmaking plant in Austin, Texas, from operating at all in late winter. All the while TSMC threatens to run away with its current market share advantage.

Samsung already closer to Biden than it ever was to Trump

That episode probably won’t be more than a foothold at today’s meeting, assuming it gets mentioned at all. Not that Biden won’t get briefed on what transpired but the U.S. government’s already bound to pick up that expense tab, being the one who ordered Samsung to cease all operations during one of the most aggressive blizzards that hit the American Midwest in recent memory.

Samsung and White House officials should be keener on exploring how to help one another out of their current predicaments. The Biden administration is standing on a slippery slope, however, when it comes to pursuing domestic manufacturing above all else. Semiconductors are an extremely heterogenous field which IP law will keep as such for a long time to come, and no amount of cheap manufacturing in the world is going to change that anytime soon.

But high-paying jobs are high-paying jobs, and the wages Samsung already factored into its latest investment are some of the highest in existence – across any profession. Today’s tech “summit” is hence expected to be on point and mark the start of a highly lucrative partnership; one that goes both ways, at that.

Regardless of whether it helps Biden to a unifying start to the presidency that he openly covets, the fact remains that Samsung seems much more inclined to work with the new administration over the previous one.

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