According to Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea,
South Korea`s state funding for research and development in materials, components and equipment would be doubled next year as the government goes all out to build a self-sufficient value chain after the country`s industrial power came under threat from Japan`s weaponization of industrial supplies in the recent trade spat.
The Ministry of Science and ICT proposed a state subsidy of 300 billion won ($251.7 million) in its share of the 2020 budget to back development of core technologies, up from this year`s 160 billion won.
The trade ministry separately pledged 1.27 trillion won in the 2020 budget to expedite tech self-sufficiency, nearly double this year`s 601.7 billion won.
Hong Nam-ki, deputy prime minister and finance minister, vowed to invest 2.7 trillion won over the next three years in global R&D activities and overseas deals to boost the competitiveness of material, component and equipment sectors. He also pledged to back an additional 3.7 trillion won of trade insurance to enhance stability in the global supply chain.
Seoul sharpened its focus on key industrial products after Japan in July curbed exports of three chemicals necessary for the production of Korea`s vital chip and display industries. Japan later removed Korea from its preferential trade partner list for fast-track export clearance, tightening export controls of more than 1,000 Japanese items shipped to Korea.
The trade sanctions exposed Korea`s heavy dependence on Japanese high-tech supplies to turn out competitive finished goods for exports. Nearly 70 percent of Korea`s imports from Japan last year consisted of industrial materials, components and equipment. Korea has never recorded a single trade surplus with Japan since the two countries normalized ties in 1965.
The science ministry said it plans to inject about 400.4 billion won from 2020 to 2032 to develop proprietary technologies in nano and future materials. It would also designate 60 research centers dedicated to the project to support their research activities. Another 32.6 billion won would be earmarked to help universities and state-funded organizations commercialize their technologies. About 11.5 billion won would go into developing extreme ultraviolet lithography, an advanced chip manufacturing technology that is reliant on foreign expertise, and another 7.3 billion won into localizing research equipment.
Investments will also be made to facilitate information sharing. The ministry plans to pour about 45 billion won from 2020 to 2025 to set up a database platform accessible to all researchers. Another 45 billion won to be injected from this year to 2022 would go into launching a public semiconductor testbed. The same amount would be invested over the same period to assist fabless companies in their performance assessments. The number of research staff in component, material and equipment research centers would also be bumped up from 30 to more than 50.
By Won Ho-sup and Kim Hyo-jin
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Source: Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea (September 13, 2019)