Korea circling chip equipment wagons

March 25, 2004 – The Korean government is creating a consortium of chipmaking equipment and material suppliers, academia, research institutes, and government organizations, in an effort to boost the domestic industry’s competitiveness, according to the Korea Times.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy (MOCIE) said it plans to provide up to 7 billion won ($6 million) to increase localization of semiconductor material and equipment, such as CVD equipment, etchers, and steppers, from its current 8% level to over 30% over the next five years. The plan also calls for supporting overseas marketing activities, establishment of two nanotechnology centers, and efforts to draw more investments from Japanese semiconductor material and equipment manufacturers.

The Korean government wants its equipment industry to be more equal with that of its semiconductor and display industry, led by Samsung, DongbuAnam, and LG Philips; currently sales of domestic equipment and materials are less than two-tenths of a percent of sales of foreign rivals — Korea DNS and KC Tech, for example, posted sales of $112.7 million and $49.8 million in 2003, compared with $5.2 billion for Applied Materials and $2.6 billion for TEL.

Kim Jong-kap, deputy minister of commerce, industry, and energy, called such international firms’ dominance “a barometer for sustainable growth and competitiveness of local semiconductor and display industries.”


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