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Local tech stocks boosted by U.S. market after Lunar New Year break

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Screens display the logos of Microsoft and OpenAI. Microsoft extended on January 23 its partnership with with OpenAI, the research lab and creator of ChatGPT, in a ″multiyear, multibillion dollar investment″ [AFP]
Screens display the logos of Microsoft and OpenAI. Microsoft extended on January 23 its partnership with with OpenAI, the research lab and creator of ChatGPT, in a ″multiyear, multibillion dollar investment″ [AFP]

Korea’s tech stocks, both big and small, received a major boost Wednesday following the Lunar New Year holiday, taking a positive cue from the U.S. stock market that saw large gains from chip companies over the break.

U.S. chipmakers like Nvidia, AMD and Qualcomm rallied entering this week after Barclays upgraded its ratings on AMD, Qualcomm and Seagate Technology Holding.

Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest memory chipmaker, added 2.59 percent to close at 63,400 won ($52) Wednesday.

SK hynix climbed 4.34 percent to close at 91,400 won, marking the highest price since Nov. 16, last year.

The recent upturn breathed life into the bearish market sentiment as the chipmakers will likely announce the lowest operating profit in a decade due to weak demand for semiconductors.

Barclays’ analyst Blayne Curtis, however, expected that the chip market could rebound in the second-half of this year on the condition that the re-opening of China continues.

“We are more positive about companies with data centers, PCs and handset exposures,” the analyst wrote in a note.

Also on the gaining side were smaller robotics and chatbot companies, following major investment announcements by big tech companies like Samsung Electronics and Microsoft.

Rainbow Robotics surged 29.96 percent to 87,200 won, an all-time high, boosted by Samsung Electronics’ decision earlier this month to invest nearly 60 billion won into the Kosdaq-listed robot maker.

The Daejeon-based company announced on Jan. 3 that Samsung Electronics will acquire 1.9 million shares or a 10 percent stake in Rainbow Robotics for 58.98 billion won.

The announcement garnered attention as equity investments by Samsung Electronics have been few and far between since its acquisition of Harman in 2016, though the size of the latest acquisition is not considered substantial.

Best known for its humanoid robot, Hubo, the company was founded by a group of researchers at KAIST including Oh Jun-ho, a mechanical engineering professor at the science and technology-focused university.

ChatGPT also offered a boost after Microsoft announced Monday that it will make a “multiyear, multibillion-dollar” investment into OpenAI, the San Francisco, California-based company behind the wildly popular AI chatbot tool. Multiple media outlets estimated the size to be $10 billion.

Selvas AI, a developer of voice and image recognition software tools, gained 18.07 percent to reach 14,050 won while Konan Technology, a big data analytics provider, advanced 29.88 percent.

Still, the correlation between the popularity of ChatGPT and the businesses of the Korean companies remains unclear.

Short for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer, it is a free chatbot system capable of generating conversational dialogue and human-like text such as articles and summaries.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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