President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday emphasized the great growth potential of the non-memory chip sector, reaffirming the government's plan to offer every possible support for South Korea's businesses involved.
He laid out a strategic vision to boost the "system" semiconductor industry, making his first visit to the local facilities of Samsung Electronics Co. since taking office in May 2017.
The visit to Samsung's Nano City campus in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, was meant to demonstrate the liberal administration's resolve to promote it as the country's future economic growth engine, along with bio-health and next-generation automobiles.
"If (our) challenge in the system semiconductor field succeeds, (South Korea) will position itself as a true, comprehensive semiconductor powerhouse," Moon said in a ceremony held at Samsung's advance base for non-memory chip businesses.
He recalled South Korea's success in memory chip development, saying it can capitalize on the experience and technology.
"Our goal is clear," Moon stressed. "It's to leap to the status of a comprehensive semiconductor power by becoming No. 1 in the system semiconductor foundry sector and attaining 10 percent of the market share in the fabless one by 2030, while maintaining the top spot in the memory chip field."
His remarks came hours after Samsung, the world's largest memory chip and smartphone maker, reported a 56.9 percent drop in its net profit to 5.04 trillion won (US$4.3 billion) in the first quarter from a year earlier amid falling DRAM prices and weak demand for display panels.
Nearly 90 percent of Samsung's revenue reportedly comes from the memory business, and observers say it is likely to lose its semiconductor crown to Intel sometime this year.
Moon pointed out that the system semiconductor market is 1.5 times bigger than that of the memory chip market.
"Its growth potential is infinite," he said. "If it's utilized in the entire industrial field, such as robots, bio and cars, (the market) will grow to the size of 300 trillion won in 2022."
President Moon Jae-in (R) shakes hands with Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong at the Device Solutions Research (DSR) center of Samsung's Nano City campus in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, on April 30, 2019. (Yonhap)
Still, the global market share of South Korean companies stays at around 3 percent.
Last week, Samsung announced plans to invest 133 trillion won by 2030 to bulk up its non-memory business.
The president hailed Samsung's initiative and said the government will "actively help" it by expanding budget spending for R&D in the semiconductor sector and stepping up efforts to nurture manpower.
He made it clear that the public sector will play a leading role in fostering domestic demand by introducing large-scale energy, safety and transportation projects, in which non-memory chips will be used.
"(The government) will create a system semiconductor market using 26 million chips in the public sector by 2030," he said, adding that it's estimated to be worth at least 240 billion won in the energy field alone.
Moon was accompanied by the finance, industry and science ministers on the tour. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong also attended the event, which took place at the Device Solutions Research (DSR) center in the compound located just south of Seoul.(Yonhap)