Newly appointed Science and ICT Minister Choi Ki-young, who is an artificial intelligence and semiconductor expert, has declared that the ministry would focus on the growth of the intelligent semiconductor industry.
He visited Telechips, an intelligent semiconductor manufacturer, on Sept. 18. Established in 1999, Telechips is a fabless company specializing in semiconductors for use in in-vehicle infotainment systems, vehicle cockpit systems and set-top boxes. It has risen to the top of the local automotive semiconductor market only with semiconductor design capabilities and even without any semiconductor manufacturing facilities. Its infotainment system semiconductor chips, which have replaced those of Japanese company Renesas Electronics and Dutch company NXP Semiconductors, are currently meeting more than 80 percent of Hyundai Motor Group’s demand. The company’s global market share is over 12 percent now.
The minister’s visit is based on his conclusion that intelligent semiconductor is the very solution to the local semiconductor industry’s ongoing difficulties. “The industry can grow only when major companies grow together with smaller fabless companies,” he said, adding, “Fabless company establishment requires no large capital expenditures and thus is suitable for venture firms and I hope more and more fabless companies will come up with creative and innovative ideas.”
The ministry’s intelligent semiconductor R&D project for investing one trillion won for 10 years passed preliminary feasibility studies in April this year and the ministry is going to accelerate the progress of the project. “Although I am not content with the budget, which I think should be more than 10 trillion won, we will work very closely with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy so that R&D results can be best utilized by companies and more small and medium-sized enterprises can make good use of their excellent techniques with their larger counterparts,” he continued to say.