Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell is the first to admit few people had heard of his small town of Taylor in Central Texas before South Korean conglomerate Samsung announced it was building its new $17 billion chip factory there.
The Electronics Co Ltd plant, which is expected to produce advanced high-performance chips, is hailed by local, state and U.S. officials as an important step in shoring up domestic chip supply and reducing dependence on Chinese production.
Today, Taylor, Texas might be better known around the world than any other city in central Texas, Gravell, the county's top elected official, said during a Wednesday interview.
Gravell said that the success of Tuesday's announcement to collaborate with Texas Governor Greg Abbott's office was attributed to the success of Tuesday's announcement to direct collaboration with the Texas governor, who was personally involved in securing the plant's electricity supply with Sempra Energy's Oncor Electric Delivery Co.
According to Gravell, Oncor's Chief Executive Allen Nye met with Samsung President Jung-bae Lee in Austin earlier this year to assure the company that industrial users on Oncor's network did not suffer any downtime during last winter's massive Texas snow storm.
Gravell said that Samsung has struck an agreement with Canadian EPCOR Utilities Inc to build a water pipeline to the plant from Alcoa, 25 miles 40 km east of Taylor.
He said that the plant will not affect existing water sources, it's a brand new water source brought in by Samsung.
The county judge said state officials from the economic development department helped him navigate international business talks, recommending a book on Asian culture.
I wasn't sure how to negotiate with Koreans, but I've never had that experience before, Gravell said. I studied up and learned the chapters by heart. Samsung hasn't said what the new plant will make beyond advanced logic chips, which can be used to power mobile devices and autonomous vehicles.
Gravell said company executives told him they did not know the technical details of the chips to be manufactured at the new factory because today's technology might be outdated in a few years.
The plant, which is projected to create 2,000 high-tech jobs, will start production in the second half of 2024, according to Samsung.