SEOUL, Jul. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea vowed Monday to invest 1.5 trillion won (US$1.34 billion) over the next 10 years to maintain its global competitiveness as the country’s industry minister visited key semiconductor production lines of Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc.
“In order to have South Korea maintain its reputation as the world’s top semiconductor powerhouse, we will support the development of the chip industry by focusing on three strategies,” Paik Un-gyu, minister of trade, industry and energy, said during his visit to Samsung and SK hynix.
The chip segment is a key pillar for South Korean industry, accounting for roughly 20 percent of exports by Asia’s fourth-largest economy.
The three strategies mentioned by Paik are the development of next-generation materials that will replace existing memory chips, the seeking of combined growth of fabless and foundry businesses, and hosting production lines of global semiconductor companies.
The industry ministry said it will partner with the Ministry of Science and ICT to make the necessary investment going forward.
Paik also expressed gratitude to Samsung and SK hynix for pushing forward major investment projects in the country.
“Large-scale investment by companies is the best way to revitalize the national economy and generate jobs,” the minister said in response to SK hynix’s latest plan to build a new production line at its headquarters in Icheon, southeast of Seoul. The chipmaker said it will inject 3.5 trillion won through 2020.
The policymaker, who also visited Samsung’s production line in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, urged the South Korean tech giant to actively expand investment down the road.
Samsung Electronics and SK hynix told Paik of the difficulties facing the two tech companies in such areas as protecting key technologies and the price-fixing probe carried out in China.
Samsung Electronics also asked the government to put in place power transmission lines near Pyeongtaek by 2023 to provide the power necessary for an expansion of its production line in the city.
Meanwhile, SK hynix called for tax incentives for its investment in research and development.
It remains unclear whether Paik made any response to the requests.