Korea aims to chip away at Taiwan’s semiconductor dominance

South Korean electronics giant Samsung ha pledged to invest $150 billion in its chip business by 2030 and its government says it will get involved too.

Nikkei Asia reports that the whole of South Korea has committed to invest 510 trillion won in the semiconductor sector, with Samsung alone accounting for a third of it. It should be noted, however, that Samsung had already committed to the bulk of that spend a couple of years ago, but it recently announced it was chucking another $34 billion into the pot.

“The entire semiconductor industry is facing a watershed moment and now is the time to chart out a plan for long-term strategy and investment,” said Dr. Kinam Kim, Vice Chairman and Head of Device Solutions Division at Samsung Electronics. “For the memory business, where Samsung has maintained its undisputed leadership position, the Company will continue to make preemptive investments to lead the industry.”

The extra investment is earmarked specifically for the logic chip business, which covers things like smartphone application processors. Right now, if you want the best in processor manufacture you go to Taiwan’s TSMC and Samsung wants to change that. In fact it’s target is to overtake TSMC by 2030, which will be a good effort considering TSMC is also chucking money around like confetti.

Samsung’s move was probably prompted by the South Korean government’s decision to increase the amount of tax relief given to semiconductor investment, which will also assist the newly-liberated SK Hynix. It will be good to see a bit of geographical diversification in the chip supply, but South Korea is still just a boat ride across the East China Sea away from Taiwan, so hopefully we will see similar initiatives in the US and Europe.

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