South Korea invests to become a leader in AI-related semiconductors

South Korea invests to become a leader in AI related semiconductors

South Korea is set to invest $7 billion by 2027 to become a leader in advanced semiconductors, the ultra-powerful chips needed to power systems needed for artificial intelligence.

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To become a leader in the strategic field of advanced semiconductors, South Korea announced Tuesday April 9 through its President Yoon Suk Yeol that it would invest nearly $7 billion in semiconductors by 2027. artificial intelligence (AI). “ We will invest 9.4 trillion won ($6.94 billion) in AI and AI-related semiconductors by 2027 » and create a separate fund of 1.4 trillion won ($1 billion) “ to help the growth of innovative AI semiconductor companies “, declared the South Korean president, according to his services, during a meeting with sector officials.

The current competition in the semiconductor industry is an industrial war and an all-out war between countries “, he added. South Korea aims to become a world leader “ of AI technology and go beyond memory chips, to conquer the future AI chip market “, emphasized Mr. Yoon. “ It is no exaggeration to say that the future of the semiconductor industry depends on AI “, also said the president.

Read alsoSemiconductors: demand strengthened by the rush towards artificial intelligence

Semiconductors are a key part of the global economy. They are used in everything from kitchen appliances to cell phones, cars and weapons. Demand for chips for artificial intelligence systems has skyrocketed thanks to the success of ChatGPT and other generative artificial intelligence products.

The world’s top two makers of memory chips, including high-bandwidth memory chips (HBMs) used by AI, Samsung and SK Hynix, are based in South Korea.

The AI ​​chip market is dominated by Silicon Valley titan Nvidia, to which SK Hynix supplies HBM chips. Representatives from Samsung, SK Hynix, technology giant Naver and AI chip start-up SAPEON attended the meeting, according to Yoon’s office.

Main export product

Semiconductors are South Korea’s main export product. In March, chip exports reached $11.7 billion, their highest level in nearly two years, accounting for a fifth of the country’s total exports, according to figures released by the Commerce Ministry.

On Monday, Washington unveiled subsidies of up to $6.6 billion in favor of Taiwanese semiconductor giant TSMCpart of a program to encourage chipmakers to make their most advanced products in the United States.

Earlier this month, Japan also announced up to $3.9 billion in subsidy to a chipmaking company, part of a plan to revive its own semiconductor industry.

As for China, it has for years encouraged its domestic chip industry to reduce its dependence on Western technology, particularly in response to restrictions imposed by the United States on the most advanced chips.

With geopolitical concerns over Taiwan and the more general rivalry between the United States and China in the background, Seoul and Tokyo are indeed competing with Washington and the main European countries to boost their respective chip production with massive investments. and subsidies.