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Friday, April 19, 2024

Korea launches forum to match AI chip producers with companies

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Kang Kyung-sung, vice minister at the Industry Ministry speaks at the inauguration event of AI chip consultative forum on Tuesday in Seongnam, Gyeonggi. [YONHAP]

A consultative forum for AI semiconductors has launched to help Korea take an early lead in the fast-growing industry.

The group will match companies in seven key industries that demand AI chips — including cars, robots, IoT, healthcare and energy — with chip producers.

The Ministry of Industry will finance 50 percent of the research and development (R&D) costs for select projects dedicated to on-device AI chips.

Up to 1 billion won will be provided for projects that require 28-nanometer processes or smaller and up to 500 million won for projects requiring larger processes.

The Ministry of Industry will also invest 5 billion won in developing and verifying AI chip prototypes, doubling the fund from last year’s 2.4 billion won.

“As AI, including the on-device AI, expands throughout the entire industry, global companies increasingly demand AI chips,” said Kang Kyung-sung, vice minister at the Industry Ministry.

“That leads to significant opportunities for our chipmakers. To take an early lead in the industry, timely product development and cooperation among various players, included in the value chain, is crucial. The government will support through this forum various aspects such as infrastructure, R&D, finance as well as matching companies.”

The forum will also match chip designers with chip manufacturers or packaging firms to fortify the country’s AI chip ecosystem.

Samsung Electronics and SK hynix will participate in the forum as memory and chip manufacturing companies.

Rebellions, Sapeon, FuriosaAI and DeepX were among the seven chip designers taking part.

Wonik IPS and Dongjin Semichem participated as chip equipment companies.

Hyundai Motor, HD Hyundai, LG Electronics, Naver, KT and Hanwha System were among the companies that participated in the forum as representatives of seven core industries that are in need of AI chips.

While Korea maintains leadership in memory chips, the country falls behind in chip design, which is crucial for AI chips, with a single-digit market share.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]