Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has left for North America to visit Canada and the United States on Nov. 14. It marks his first U.S. visit in five years. Photo courtesy of Samsung Electronics

Samsung chief takes flight to US to make investment

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong took a flight to North America on Nov. 14, his first overseas trip after he was released on parole midway through this year.

The Samsung tycoon arrived at Seoul Gimpo Business Aviation Center early on the day to take on a Korean Air charter flight to Canada.

Samsung Electronics refused to elaborate on his detailed schedule. But local media outlets report that Lee will visit Samsung’s artificial intelligence lab in Toronto before heading toward the United States.

In the U.S., Lee is expected to have meetings to finalize the decision of selecting the firm’s new semiconductor foundry plant, which would take up to $17 billion.

Taylor in Texas is regarded as the strongest candidate for the facilities, but other areas also contend for them, including Phoenix in Arizona and upstate New York.

Lee told reporters that he would meet many semiconductor partners.

The 53-year-old billionaire also said that he would meet with Moderna officials as he said, “I will visit Boston.” The vaccine giant is based in the city.

Moderna has something to do with a Samsung affiliate, Samsung BioLogics, as the two outfits agreed earlier to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines in South Korea.

Lee’s U.S. visit is the first since 2016.

Thereafter, the Samsung chief was imprisoned twice for bribing former President Park Geun-hye. He was freed in August this year on parole after serving a total of 18 months.

He is also facing a separate suit over charges of accounting frauds involving Samsung BioLogics and the 2016 merger between two Samsung subsidiaries.

Samsung officials did not make comments on his business trips.

Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest manufacturer of memory chips and smartphones. It is also the biggest company in the South Korean stock market in terms of market capitalization.