Samsung Austin Semiconductor, a U.S. subsidiary of South Korea-headquartered electronics giant Samsung, will invest approximately $500 million to upgrade an aging semiconductor plant in Austin, Texas, according to the Austin Business Journal. The plant, which currently manufactures eight-inch chips, will close in October and approximately 500 employees will be laid off. The new facility will begin making 12-inch chips sometime in 2010; at that time, the company expects to hire up to 200 employees. Samsung currently operates a 12-inch plant in Austin that will be integrated into a larger facility" In order to upgrade and convert the older facility, we must take the manufacturing area back to the bare walls," says Y.B. Koh, president of Samsung Austin, quoted by the Journal. "The new facility will add a great deal of flexibility to our existing 12-inch plant." KVUE-TV reports on its website that local chamber of commerce officials expect that up to 5,500 direct and indirect jobs could be created in the future with the new plant's construction and ongoing operations.