With the intensification of the global chip arms race and state led support, the new government to be led by President designate Yin xilie is at a crossroads. How will its policy support for cultivating the Korean chip industry be formed.
On April 21, JINJIXING, deputy spokesman of the presidential Transitional Council, told reporters that the Council had heard the proposal to establish a state-owned research center (tentatively named as nano semiconductor research institute).
However, king said that the committee’s feasibility review of the research center has not yet begun.
The new research center was proposed by the academic community in January to create a centralized semiconductor research base for cutting-edge nano electronic technology, because the relevant research infrastructure in Korea is largely decentralized.
According to Lee byoung Hun, the entity may be a Korean enterprise, equivalent to IMEC in Belgium. It will operate a facility with a 12 inch wafer factory test bench, an extreme ultraviolet lithography equipment and at least 300 researchers. In January, he was a professor of electrical engineering at POSCO University of science and technology. Lee also called for the establishment of a top-level nano chip research center.
However, Kim’s remarks on April 21 showed that the plan may involve a budget of 10trillion won (8billion US dollars), which seems to be lower in the committee’s priority list.
This news was released on the occasion of Yoon’s series of commitments to support the chip industry, because it recognizes that this commodity is a national strategic asset and can solve the chip shortage problem that plagues the global industry.
Earlier this week, Yoon’s transition Committee promised to renovate the chip factory for academic purposes, which will be operated by a number of institutions, including the national nano factory center in Daejeon and the Korean advanced nano factory center in Suwon.
Also in April, Yoon’s Committee promised to provide more government subsidies for the expansion of chip factories, simplify the regulatory procedures for private sector chip investment, expand university courses to cultivate talents and strengthen the recruitment of experts.
In addition, Yoon nominated Lee Jong Ho, Professor of electrical and computer engineering at Seoul National University, as Minister of science, indicating that semiconductor chips are likely to be one of the top agendas of the incoming conservative cabinet.
South Korea is home to Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and other memory chip giants, and the world’s second largest semiconductor foundry is also operated by Samsung.
However, the country has been plagued by talent shortages and external uncertainties in the past few years, including the covid-19 pandemic, the US China trade war, the Russian military attack on Ukraine and the blockade of Shanghai in the past few months.
In February, the Korean semiconductor industry association, a lobbying group, said that Korean enterprises were ready to invest 56.7 trillion won in 2022, an increase of 10% over the expenditure in 2021, in order to solve the shortcomings of the chip industry.
South Korea has also passed its own chip law, which came into force in July to provide tax relief for facility investment and tax credit for R & D. However, the bill does not disclose the estimated total national expenditure, as has been done in similar bills enacted in the United States, China and Europe to support the chip industry.
The so-called chips for America bill, which is awaiting approval by the house of Representatives, will cost US $52billion to promote the growth of us chip manufacturers within five years and respond to China’s US $1.4 trillion financing plan from 2020 to 2025. Europe also seeks to mobilize 43billion euros ($46.9 billion) of policy driven investment and adopt its own chip act.
In 2021, South Korea proposed a plan to invest 510trillion won by 2030 to ensure the security of the supply chain, but this is not legally binding.
At the same time, according to the report of counterpoint research on April 20, with the supply-demand gap beginning to narrow, it is expected that the global semiconductor chip shortage will show signs of easing in the second half of 2022.
“Last year, the tight supply coincided with the rebound in consumer and enterprise demand, which brought a lot of trouble to the entire supply chain. However, in the past few months, we have seen weak demand, which well intersected with the increase in inventory,” said Dale Gai, head of semiconductor and component business at counterpoint research.
On the other hand, Korean semiconductor companies seem to be lagging behind in the chip technology competition, while their competitors hope to benefit from the recovery of the chip industry.
For example, Samsung’s latest cutting-edge memory chip processing technology has made slow progress in mass production, including technologies for 14 nm DRAM chips and 176 layer NAND chips, according to do Hyun woo, an analyst at NH investment and securities.
Compared with TSMC and other competitors, the new process is more difficult, and the chip yield of this technology giant’s OEM chip manufacturing business under the most advanced 3-nm and 4-nm processes is expected to remain at a low level. Analysts said.
Do wrote in a report on April 21: “Samsung has made slow progress in memory chip processing technology, and the yield of OEM business has been very low. This will benefit the global memory chip industry and its competitors.”