South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry & Energy Baek Woon-kyu announced a semiconductor and display industry development strategy at the Seoul Plaza Hotel in Sogong-no on Feb. 8. The ministry also launched a semiconductor and display coexistent development committee consisting of 20 industrial, academic and research experts. The event was attended by heads of conglomerates, such as Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, Samsung Display and LG Display, as well as small and mid-size material and equipment suppliers.
Baek said, “Ushering into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new market for the memory chip and display industries is opening. The government will actively help develop technologies that can lead the future market, train experts and achieve a partnership between large businesses and small and medium-sized firms.”
Local semiconductor and display large businesses pledged to make a large-scale investment worth more than 80 trillion won (US$73.33 billion). To be specific, Samsung Electronics will invest 20.4 trillion won (US$18.7 billion) in the semiconductor sector by 2021, while SK Hynix will make a 31 trillion won (US$28.41 billion) investment by 2024. For the organic light emitting diode (OLED) sector, Samsung Display and LG Display will invest 14 trillion won (US$12.83 billion) by 2019 and 15 trillion won (US$13.75 billion) by 2020, respectively. These companies will put top priority on raising the localization ratio of equipment and materials to develop technologies and markets. They are aiming to increase the localization ratio of semiconductor equipment and materials from 20 percent in 2017 to 30 percent and from 50 percent to 70 percent by 2022 and display equipment and materials from 70 percent and 30 percent to 80 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
To this end, the companies will develop technologies to commercialize new materials that are more efficient than silicon in the memory chip sector including silicon carbide (SiC), germanium antimony telluride (GST) and gallium nitride (GaN). This is the so-called “Semiconductor 2K Project” developing new materials that are 1,000 times more efficient in performance and consume up to 1,000 times less power. In addition, they will strengthen research and development in neuromorphic chip technologies imitating the structure of the human brain, edge computing technologies applying artificial intelligence (AI) to Internet of Things (IoT) devices and IoT technologies.
For the display sector, the industries will develop a printing type of production systems that can rebuild over 20 percent in flexible displays and reduce 60 percent in materials usage and 50 percent in processing time.
Large businesses and small and mid-size companies will also strengthen cooperation. The government will help boost the number of small and mid-size world champ material and equipment producers from 3 in 2017 to 8 in 2022. This is worth 2 trillion won (US$1.83 billion) in total by 2022.
The government will support financial loans worth more than 1 trillion won (US$916.59 million), such as technology development and facilities expansion and payment bills between partner companies, foster 2,000 experts with master's and doctorate degrees by matching one on one with conglomerates and additionally create “semiconductor growth funds” worth 200 billion won (US$183.32 million).
Park Young-sam, section head in the electronic components division at the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy, said, “The government will help settle a virtuous cycle that leads domestic investment to solve investment errors, create good jobs and then make an additional investment. We will also set up new start-up support programs next year to prevent the outflow of experts and create jobs in the memory chip and display sectors.”