Korean chipmakers urged to secure competitiveness in non-memory chips

By Shin Ji-hye
  • Published : Jun 8, 2018 - 16:06
  • Updated : Jun 8, 2018 - 16:06

The South Korean minister of industry and commerce urged Korean chipmakers Friday to secure global competitiveness in non-memory chip to widen technology gap from Chinese competitors.

Paik Un-gyu, the Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy

“It is very important for Korean companies to secure global competitiveness in non-memory chips,” said Paik Un-gyu, the Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, adding that non-memory chips are the basis of advanced technologies powered by artificial intelligence and fifth-generation networks.

Non-memory chips are processors such as graphics processing units for computers or application processors for smartphones to deal with high-performance data.

Currently, Korean companies have less than 3 percent share of the global non-memory chip market despite having a dominant share in the global memory market.

China appears to have focused on upgrading its technological level on chipmaking, by increasing imports of semiconductors from overseas.

The country seems to have expanded the import of chip products to learn more, as part of its fast-follow strategy.

Last year, China’s imports of crude oil marked $160 billion, while imports of chips stood at $259 billion, according to the government.

While striving to narrow the technological gap with South Korea, China is likely to continue its containment efforts against its neighboring country for a considerable of time, it added.

In the market becoming competitive with China becoming a fast-follower, South Korea has to seek a way of keeping its leadership in the sector.

“As the government side, we will make diverse efforts to develop next-generation technologies and process jointly with the private sector, foster key personnel and ease investment difficulties of companies,” Paik said at the meeting attended by CEOs from Samsung, SK and LG.

For China’s latest probe into Korean chipmakers’ price-fixing allegations, the minister said the government would continue to communicate with the Chinese counterparts to make the investigation carried out fairly.

Early this month, Beijing said it launched investigations into price-fixing allegations of Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and Micron Technology, saying DRAM prices have risen sharply.

At the meeting Friday, Paik also urged battery firms to secure next-generation battery technologies, as China is fast accumulating battery technologies by taking advantage of its large electric car market.

“It is uncertain which technology will dominate the EV battery market where diverse next-generation battery technologies are competing to follow the current lithium-ion batteries,” he said.

The government aims to develop high-density batteries which are 300 watt-hour batteries by 2020 and solid-state batteries by 2015 jointly with the private sector. 

By Shin Ji-hye (