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Government opens chip design center for local fabless companies

South Korea’s Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo speaks during a press conference held to celebrate the opening of an innovation center dedicated to nurture local fabless companies and system semiconductor developers in Pangyo, Geyonggi Province. (Yonhap)
South Korea’s Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo speaks during a press conference held to celebrate the opening of an innovation center dedicated to nurture local fabless companies and system semiconductor developers in Pangyo, Geyonggi Province. (Yonhap)

South Korea‘s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday launched an innovation center aimed to support local fabless companies and system semiconductor developers.

The newly opened semiconductor center, located in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, will function as a base that nurtures capabilities of chip design companies, known as fabless, the ministry said. It was a follow-up measure of the government-led plan to foster the logic chip industry where Korean chipmakers have not been able to flex their muscles. In April last year, the government and Samsung Electronics together announced a plan to make Korea the top chip producer in both memory and system chip markets by 2030.

Any Korean fabless companies whose design proposals are accepted by the center will be provided with tools, labs and financial support to commercialize their products, according to the government plan.

The ministry has currently granted nine local companies space at the facility to use while working on the development of system-on-chips. The ministry plans to select 11 more companies by next year.

“To help the nation take the lead in the system semiconductor field, the ministry will work towards strengthening ties between related parties and increase support to nurture experts and boost research,” said Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo.

During a press conference held to celebrate the opening of the center, officials from the government and semiconductor firms also shared the government‘s future plans for the system semiconductor sector.

According to the ministry, the government will start next month to provide local fabless companies support from a 100 billion won fund created last year.

The ministry added that it will launch an enterprise unit dedicated to investing in next generation semiconductors in August. Together with the ICT Ministry, it plans to invest a total of 1 trillion won in the SoC sector from 2020 to 2029.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)

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