South Korea pushes for self-sufficiency in sophisticated chipmaking

DAEJEON, South Korea (Reuters) – When the South Korea government unveiled an expanded semiconductor material testing facility last month, the centrepiece was a towering white machine given by Samsung Electronics at a fraction of its market price. The facility, aimed at motivating local suppliers to make and test sophisticated chipmaking materials like photoresist, comes as South Korea pushes for self-sufficiency after Japan last year imposed export curbs on high-tech chip materials. The equipment that Samsung sold to the lab, the ArF immersion lithography machine made by ASML, will help local suppliers test chip material. The chip sector accounts for 20% of exports for South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy. Kim, now a professor at Korea Polytechnics University, also cautioned South Korea could be hit hard should Japan expand curbs to chipmaking equipment.

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