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Mega R&D projects eyed to foster rechargeable battery sector: minister

South Korea's top economic policymaker said Thursday the country will push for large-scale research and development (R&D) projects to foster the next-generation rechargeable battery industry.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the government will soon unveil the detailed plan to nurture the rechargeable battery sector with the goal of the country taking the lead in the segment.

The government plans to help companies secure the stable supply chains of materials for such batteries and to foster more than 1,100 talented workers per year, according to the minister.

Last year, South Korea, China and Japan took up a combined 95 percent share of the global electric vehicle battery market.

South Korea maintained the No. 1 market share in the mini-rechargeable battery market for the 10th straight year in 2020. But global competition to have a bigger slice in the mid-to-large battery market has heated up.

In the second-half economic policy plan, the finance ministry said the country will designate semiconductors, batteries and vaccines as three key sectors dealing with national strategic technologies.

To nurture such sectors, the government will spend more than 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) supporting their facility investment, as well as providing tax incentives and other support. (Yonhap)