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S Korea Woos Chipmakers to Invest $453B by 2030

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South Korea said on Thursday it plans to provide massive tax incentives and state subsidies to chipmakers to encourage them to spend a combined $453 billion by 2030, in line with its vision to become a global powerhouse in both memory and non-memory chips.

Under the plan dubbed the K-semiconductor blueprint, the government will also draw up a 1.5 trillion-won budget to support the development of next-generation power semiconductors and AI chips, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy.

Another batch of 1 trillion won worth of low-interest loans will be provided to support facility investment by local chipmakers, including 8-inch wafer foundry lines. South Korea is home to leading global players, including Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc.

The 510 trillion won ($453 billion) investment plan includes 41.8 trillion won in investment estimated for 2021.

Aided by a set of supporting measures, South Korea aims to more than double its annual outbound shipments of chips to reach a whopping $200 billion in 2030 from $99.2 billion tallied in 2020, reports Yonhap news agency.

President Moon Jae-in received a related report in person as he visited Samsung’s semiconductor manufacturing center in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, which is being developed as the world’s largest chip production complex.

He pointed out that global competition is getting fiercer in the sector.

“The semiconductor industry has moved to an era of competition among countries, beyond competition among companies,” he said in a speech at the facilities located 70 km south of Seoul.

Moon stressed that South Korea will “overcome the strong wave of global supply chains being reorganized, through the K-semiconductor strategy, with the public and private sectors joining forces.”

He said that the government will designate semiconductors as a “national innovation strategy technology” and increase tax benefits to as much as six times the current level.

The semiconductor sector has been the key driver of the country’s exports, taking up around 20 percent of the country’s annual outbound shipments.

The sector especially has been among a few winners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Exports of chips advanced 30.2 percent on-year in April to $9.3 billion, extending their gains to a whopping 10 consecutive months.

South Korea, however, has been lagging behind global peers in terms of non-memory chips. To induce chipmakers to carry out scheduled investment plans, the country said it will offer various tax benefits and subsidies.


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