According to the findings of market research firm IHS Technology announced by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on March 24, Korea snatched second place from Japan in the global semiconductor market, 31 years after Samsung Electronics announced its intent to enter the market in 1983.
Last year, local companies’ annual sales of semiconductors stood at US$51.516 billion, accounting for 16.2 percent, thus beating Japan with US$43.432 billion of sales and 13.7 percent market share.
While Korean firms’ market share increased from 14.2 percent in 2010 to 16.2 percent in 2013, Japan decreased from 20.3 percent to 13.7 percent in the same period. The US nabbed the top spot with 52.4 percent, whereas the fourth and fifth spots were taken by the EU (8.7 percent) and Taiwan (6.5 percent).
In spite of the runner-up position, experts are saying that the nation’s semiconductor industry is leaning too much towards memory chips.
The sales of memory chips reached US$34.297 billion, making up 66.5 percent of the total. The local memory chip industry made up 52.4 percent of the global market, which placed Korea in the number one position. However, the local system semiconductor market, which is considered to be a next-gen semiconductor sector, comprised only 5.8 percent, and therefore ranked at the bottom of major countries. Korea’s discrete and optical devices represented 10.4 percent of the total, and thus there is still a 31.5 percent gap, with top-ranked Japan in the global market.