• Korea’s Competitiveness in Memory Semiconductor Has No Problem
    2019-04-01 hit 505

    Koreas Competitiveness in Memory Semiconductor Has No Problem 

    - Proliferation of 5G service will be a turning point need to keep in check on China and respond to the US-China disputes -


    An analysis suggests that Korea has a robust global competitiveness in memory semiconductors and the country will be able to take another leap forward when 5G mobile communication-based services are expanded.  


    According to a report titled Competitiveness, Opportunities and Threats of the Korean Semiconductor Industry issued by the Institute for International Trade of the Korea International Trade Association on April 2nd, Korea's memory semiconductor industry has a firm competitive edge despite its recent sluggish export.


    Korea currently takes up 63.7 percent of the global memory semiconductor market and its technology is far ahead of China and other countries where the followers will not able to catch up in a short term. Although the Chinese government has invested heavily in order to increase the self-sufficiency rate of memory, the technology level is still years behind Korea, and mass production is also failing. Their chase is slow as the cost for microfabrication process is greatly increased.


    In the system semiconductor industry, the sales volume of the foundry sector of consigned manufacturing rose from 4th place in the world in 2017 to the second place in the world last year, and the manufacturing capacity accumulated in the memory field shines in the system sector as well. However, the fabless sector specialized in design without manufacturing facilities is lagging behind the United States, Japan, Europe and China. Since Koreas system semiconductor industry occupies about half of the global semiconductor market, active investment is urgent.


    The report selected the proliferation of killer apps that will dominate the markets all at once in 5G, autonomous cars, Internet of Things (IoT), and high-definition streaming as an important opportunity to rebound the stagnant semiconductor demand. When the 5G service proliferates, not only the amount of produced data will increase exponentially but also new semiconductor demand for new services will increase and it will be a breakthrough for Korean semiconductor companies. In the system sector, where Korea is a latecomer, opportunities can arise in places where no one is preempted, such as the app processor (AP) market for automobiles, rather than the mobile AP market, which is already dominated by the United States.

      * World Mobile Traffic Outlook (Cisco, 2019, EB/Month): (17)12 (18)19 (20)41 (22)77


    Kim Kun-woo, a researcher at the Institute for International Trade of the Korea International Trade Association, stressed, "In order to complement the weaknesses of the Korean semiconductor industry and respond to the threats, it is important to reduce the reliance on the overseas semiconductor supply chain by fostering the domestic semiconductor design sector and increasing the self-sufficiency rate of the equipment and materials sector, along with diplomatic efforts to minimize the damage caused by the US-China trade conflicts. 


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