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Kishida to meet tech CEOs in renewed chip push

By Jo He-rim

Published : May 17, 2023 - 14:29

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Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a press conference after a meeting with Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi in Maputo, Mozambique, on May 4, 2023. (AFP-Yonhap) Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a press conference after a meeting with Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi in Maputo, Mozambique, on May 4, 2023. (AFP-Yonhap)

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has invited the heads of global chipmakers, including Samsung Electronics, to meet, in an apparent move to boost his nation’s chip industry, according to Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper on Wednesday.

The media outlet said a total of seven companies -- Samsung, TSMC, Intel, IBM, Micron, Applied Materials and Interuniversity Microelectronics Center -- will join the rare meeting to be held at Kishida’s official residence in Tokyo on Thursday.

Japan’s Trade Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara are expected to accompany the prime minister, the newspaper said.

Representing Samsung, Kyung Kye-hyun, president and head of the company's device solutions division overseeing the global operation of the company’s chip business, will attend the meeting.

The rare meeting bringing together leading chipmakers comes as the Japanese government seeks to boost its own chip industry amid the rising importance of semiconductors in economic security.

Seoul-based Samsung is the world’s top memory chipmaker, while TSMC of Taiwan is the world’s leader in the foundry business. Intel, IBM, Micron and Applied Materials are all US-based chip and equipment suppliers, while IMEC is a leading research institute in Belgium.

Japan was a world leader in semiconductor manufacturing until the 1980s, but was phased out of the competition largely due to the fast rise of Korean runner-ups. Still, it stands as the No. 2 chip equipment market after the US, boasting top capabilities in the production of critical materials and parts.

The Japanese government is currently working with TSMC and Sony to offer $3.6 billion for building a chip factory for their joint venture Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing in the Japanese prefecture of Kumamoto -- covering almost 40 percent of the costs.

Samsung is also mulling the construction of a new chip research and development facility worth an estimated $220 million in Yokohama, where it already has its Samsung R&D Institution Japan.