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Yoon declares ‘all-out war’ on chips to support chip industry

By Choi Si-young

Published : June 8, 2023 - 16:07

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President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a meeting on chips at Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a meeting on chips at Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday. (Yonhap)

The competition in the chip industry is an “all-out war,” President Yoon Suk Yeol said Thursday, vowing to back local chipmakers with interagency support amid the intensifying tech competition between the US and China.

“The government and the private sector should come together to ride out challenges ahead. … The government will closely work with allies like the US to resolve issues involving the industry,” Yoon said at a meeting attended by senior officials, lawmakers and industry experts.

The meeting discussed maintaining South Korea’s edge in memory chips and fostering system or nonmemory chips development. It also discussed securing the equipment, materials and talent required to fend off chip rivals.

The Industry Ministry said it will roll out a fund dedicated to those goals within the year, as well as expand research and development on next-generation chips and reveal concrete steps for bolstering chip ties between Seoul and Washington, its biggest ally. Better protection for chip technology and the building of a chip testing facility will follow, the ministry said in a statement.

It was the second time for the Korean leader to convene a meeting on chips after an initial public discussion in late April. Earlier that month, Yoon had instructed officials to come up with a broader strategy for chips and rechargeable batteries -- the key battleground for advanced economies.

Seoul is home to the world’s largest and second-largest chipmakers, as well as global battery companies that supply automakers such as Tesla and General Motors.