South Korea to invest $19 billion in semiconductor industry 


The president confirmed this week that the industry is “the most important foundation for making our people’s lives richer” 


South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol has announced that the country will spend a record 26 trillion won ($19 billion) on a support package for its chip businesses, saying the semiconductor industry is a vital sector for the national economy. 

The investment will come through the state-run Korea Development Bank and will support for infrastructure deployment, R&D, and tax relief, which the government hopes will boost domestic companies in the global chip race. 

“As we all know, semiconductors are a field where all-out national warfare is underway. Win or lose, that depends on who can make cutting-edge semiconductors first,” Yoon said in a speech on Thursday. 

“The success of the chip industry depends on system semiconductors. Korea’s fabless firms’ global market share is insignificant. The gap between our foundry players and global leaders is too wide,” he continued. 

This new pledge dwarfs the 9.4 trillion won ($6.94 billion) the President announced last month to support AI and semiconductor development by 2027.  

Combined, all of these investments drive towards the country’s goal of becoming a top-three global player in AI technology and achieving a global market share of 10% for system semiconductors by 2030. 

In January, the country also announced plans to develop a new semiconductor production cluster near Seoul, further galvanising its chip production efforts. The new cluster will be completed through investments of 622 trillion won ($472 billion) from companies such as Samsung and SK Hynix, who combined already produce and sell 60% of the world’s memory chips.  The investment will take place gradually and is expected to be completed by 2047. The government says the funds will help to create 3 million jobs. 

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