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Semiconductor industry urges for government support amid supply shortage

Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo (center, second from left) attends a conference held at the Westin Chosun in central Seoul, Friday.
Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo (center, second from left) attends a conference held at the Westin Chosun in central Seoul, Friday.

Local semiconductor companies have called on the government for support, in a bid to expand their production facilities against the backdrop of the prolonged global shortage.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, a group of industry representatives from the Korea Semiconductor Industry Association met with Minister Sung Yun-mo during a conference held Friday at the Westin Chosun in central Seoul.

The corresponding event came as policymakers and industry officials sought to counter the international semiconductor chip shortage that has recently led to automobile manufacturing suspensions and product delivery delays.

The list of participants included KSIA Chairman and President of Memory Business of Samsung Electronics Lee Jung-bae, SK hynix CEO Seok-Hee Lee, DB HiTek Vice Chairman Choi Chang-sik, Silicon Mitus CEO Heo Yeom and KISA Vice Chairman Lee Chang-han.

They requested that companies that build new manufacturing or research and development facilities be given tax credits of up to 50 percent. As for those that extend their existing facilities, the related administrative procedures should be expedited, they added.

In an effort to nurture young talent, policymakers should roll out state-led education programs in collaboration with local universities, they also suggested.

“Semiconductors are not only the country’s core industry, but also a crucial requisite for future industries such as artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and bio-health sectors,” KISA Chairman Lee said.

Pledging full cooperation, Minister Sung said the government will soon introduce a new scheme that addresses the local semiconductors industry’s needs.

In the meantime, Sung requested industry representatives expand investments in securing manufacturing facilities for foundry and memory products.

During the conference, both industry and government officials agreed that South Korea’s stable supply of semiconductor products to the global market could help counter the chips shortage as well as contribute to recovery of the global economy.

As of 2020, South Korea-based semiconductor firms’ combined share in the dynamic random-access memory, NAND memory and foundry markets accounted for 71 percent, 45 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

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