“Made in Korea” has now become a reliable household name to people around the world. It has come to signify cutting-edge and refined products and culture. I am truly proud when I see Korean-made goods all over the world.
With the sweat and endeavors of our people, including workers, engineers and researchers; with the dedication of those parents investing in their children’s education; and with the businesses and the government investing in technologies and people, we have gradually worked to achieve a proud harvest: People across the globe have trust in and love for “Made in Korea” products.
Memory semiconductors have in particular played a leading role in changing the perception of Korean-made products abroad.
When we first entered the memory semiconductor market, our prospects for success were viewed negatively around the world. However, we succeeded beyond all expectations. With the development of a 64K DRAM chip in 1983, we gained confidence in ourselves. In 1992, we succeeded in developing a 64M DRAM for the first time ever. In the ensuing lineup of world firsts for semiconductors, Korea has ranked No.1 from 2002 to present.
The country’s status as the world’s top maker of memory semiconductors has also helped raise the competitiveness of other Korean-made products. “Made in Korea” goods, equipped with the world’s newest and finest memory semiconductors, have become synonymous with “high-tech.”
The system semiconductor vision and strategy to be presented to the public today harnesses Korea’s status as the world’s top maker of memory semiconductors as a springboard to embark on new challenges. Never settling for what has already been accomplished, it lays out how to arm Korean-made products with a “future” that transcends “high-tech.”
If we take on the challenge in the system semiconductor field and succeed, we will find ourselves as a true comprehensive semiconductor powerhouse. Moreover, Korea will become a country that carves out a better future, and Korean-made goods will stand tall as pace-setting products.
While memory semiconductors are responsible for data accumulation, system semiconductors are in charge of data utilization. One smartphone requires over 50 system semiconductors, and a newly rolled out car is embedded with more than 1,000 system semiconductors.
The core areas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – from all electrical goods and electronic devices, big data and the Internet of Things to artificial intelligence – can come about only when system semiconductors are present. Conventional manufacturing, including automobiles, machinery and home appliances, has also incorporated system semiconductors, thereby changing the manufacturing paradigm.
Currently, the system semiconductor field is more than 1.5 times larger than that for memory semiconductors. Its growth potential is limitless. If it is utilized in robots, bioengineering, automobiles and every other industrial sector, it will become a 300 trillion won market by 2022.
New possibilities within the field of system semiconductors are also wide open to Korea.
Korea still accounts for only 3 percent of the system semiconductor field, and even though we rely on imports in cases where semiconductors require advanced technological prowess as with automobiles, bioengineering and mobile phones, we surely have the capacity to be a leader in the global market.
We have fostered world-class R&D professionals and production-technology capabilities. Local businesses have sufficient resources to invest. Our manufacturing industries such as automobiles and electronics rank high in the global market, and our country has commercialized 5G services for the first time in the world. We have strength in manufacturing and ICT sectors. If cooperation between the two is enhanced, a significant demand for system semiconductors could be created.
Our goal is clear; we aim to emerge as a comprehensive semiconductor powerhouse by securing the world's No. 1 spot in the system chip foundry sector by 2030 and achieving a 10 percent market share in the fabless area while maintaining the world's No. 1 position in the memory chip field.
In order for the system semiconductor industry to succeed, what matters is the investment in people and technology as well as the competitiveness of the industrial ecosystem. In this industry, it is difficult for a talented individual in one sector or one company to succeed alone. Against this backdrop, it’s necessary to enhance cooperation and mutual growth between fabless design companies and foundry partners.
The Government will make intensive investments in people and technology. We will expand government R&D in the semiconductor field, giving top priority to promising technologies in high demand. Starting next year, a technology development project worth one trillion won will be pursued as part of the efforts to secure original technologies for next-generation semiconductors.
In addition, government R&D will be utilized to foster researchers, and other professionals will be nurtured through newly commissioned “contract-based departments” at colleges and universities. We will also strengthen on-the-job training by sector.
Fabless chip companies are the core of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that can turn imagination into reality. Even small and medium-sized enterprises can venture into this field since design and manufacturing are separated. It is also rich soil for technology startups.
The Government will provide active support to fabless startups by raising new funds exclusively for them and establishing a system to provide assistance tailored to different stages of growth. Government support will be bolstered to drastically reduce the biggest hardships facing domestic fabless businesses –
from starting a business to designing and producing a prototype.
The semiconductor foundry area has great potential; we can quickly leapfrog into a No. 1 global standing. For the first time in the world, a Korean company has already started producing 7-nanometer semiconductors by using extreme ultraviolet lithography technology.
Samsung Electronics, where we are gathered now, unveiled an ambitious goal to become the world’s leader in the semiconductor foundry business by investing 133 trillion won by 2030. I applaud its setting such a lofty goal, and the Government will provide active support.
The Government will first open up the public sector to help grow the domestic market. It will identify the need for system semiconductors in large-scale public projects related to energy, safety and transport that require such products as advanced metering infrastructure and CCTVs. By 2030, it will help generate a demand for 26 million chips in the public sector and a system semiconductor market valued at over 240 billion won in the energy field alone.
The Government will help establish a cooperative system among 5G-related industries; system semiconductor-related businesses; and the five major manufacturing industries, including automobiles and robots, for pump priming to generate private-sector demand.
No country is born a developed nation. No company starts as the world’s best either.
Now, the semiconductor field accounts for 20 percent of Korea’s exports and supports 175,000 jobs. We have become a developed nation on our own and fostered companies that lead the world.
We are moving toward a country where everyone prospers together. Businesses are announcing new investment plans and schemes to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation. The Korean people and businesses’ determination to take on a challenge and achieve mutual growth is bringing new hope to our future.
The Government will also devise innovation strategies tailored to different fields and spare no support in helping the people and companies take bold steps into new industries.
Korea leads an enormous trend, the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The trust in “Made in Korea” will continue. We can do it.