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South Korea sharpening its leading edge in chips

SEOUL – As semiconductor supply shortages keep their grip on global attention, South Korea is investing and earning on a grand scale, reinforcing its position in a crucial sector that is seeing growth in both capacity and strategic value-added.

Recent dollar figures being bandied around the South Korean chip industry – annual exports of US$100 billion, investment forecasts of $450 billion – are boggling minds. Presidential press conferences and bilateral summits in Washington add further buzz and fizz to the talk surrounding Korea’s leading, and massively capital-intensive, export item.

As the world gazes upon the sector with previously unseen intensity, South Korea’s chipmakers – armed with skilled workforces, cutting-edge plants and massive war chests, all operating via a fully established sectoral infrastructure that is backed to the hilt by Seoul – deepen and expand their footprints.