A former president of Samsung Electronics told an industry seminar on Tuesday that South Korea needs a national strategy so that the local semiconductor industry can leap forward again.
Skylake Investment CEO Daeje Chin, who formerly headed Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor business and was a Minister of Information and Technology, said in a seminar held at the headquarters of the Federation of Korean Industries that the global chip shortage is expected to be prolonged and there was a need for a national strategy to prepare for a hegemony battle over chips.
Semiconductor companies has traditionally built new facilities every four years but this has not happened for past ten years due to their fears of starting a “chicken game”, CEO Chin said.
Semiconductors were still being manufactured at fabs that are 20-years-old.
This presented an opportunity for the South Korean semiconductor industry, Chin said.
China has started massive spending in its semiconductor industry in 2015 and is chasing its Korean counterpart, the CEO said, but so far their results has been poor.
It will take time for China to catch up from strong sanctions by the US and low technology levels, so South Korea must use this opportunity, Chin stressed.
The CEO said Samsung’s founder Lee Byung-chull told him before he passed away that he invested in semiconductors with the mind of how England made the steam engine to rule the world for 400 years. Lee told his successors such Chin to therefore do well and achieve success, the CEO said.
To continue Lee’s spirit, there needs to be a national policy to recruit semiconductor talent and boost morale of companies for South Korea to dominate the semiconductor industry, Chin said.
FKI vice chairman Kwon Tae-shin, also at the seminar, said the global semiconductor market in 2021 is expected to be worth 530 trillion won, close to South Korea’s entire annual budget of 558 trillion won. South Korea must not be drunk on past successes as the competition between US, China and other strong nations to foster their semiconductor industry was intensifying, Kwon.