South Korea to foster local development of next-generation power chips

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s government said on Thursday it will foster the local development of non-silicon power semiconductors for use in electric vehicles and other new technology that require power efficiency and durability.

With this, South Korea joins other countries such as the United States, China and Japan to announce policies to promote native chip industries, including the manufacture of power semiconductors.

With private sector cooperation, the government aims for the domestic development of five or more types of power semiconductor for commercialisation by 2025, made from compounds more efficient, durable or which can be miniaturised to a greater degree than common silicon, such as silicon carbide, gallium nitride and gallium oxide.

Power chips can handle greater voltages and currents compared with conventional chips.

It will also actively support private sector efforts to domestically build 6 to 8 inch wafer chip contract manufacturing infrastructure, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement.

“The government plans to actively support R&D and the formation of infrastructure to preempt the market for next-generation power semiconductors, which is still in its early stages, and build a solid industrial ecosystem,” the industry and trade minister, Sung Yun-mo, said in the statement.

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