Photo source: Korea Economic Daily
Kim Kwang-gyo, former director of the Semiconductor Research Institute of Samsung Electronics, said that the Korean semiconductor industry needs more support from the government. Otherwise, we all die."
"Competition in the semiconductor industry is so fierce that major companies need to compete with key competitor countries and disclose their investment scale and technological level," Kim Kwang-gyo said in an interview with the outlet, according to The Korea Economic Daily. "However, the Korean government is too contemptuous of the semiconductor industry."
Kim Kwang-gyo is considered one of the masters who laid the foundation of Korea's semiconductor industry. He led the semiconductor Research Institute for four years after Samsung Electronics established the institute in 1979. Until the early 2000s, he served as the head of Samsung Electronics' Princeton Research Institute in New Jersey and the first chairman of the Korea Semiconductor Display Technology Association.
He said the south Korean government needs to learn from Samsung's success. The tech giant started the business in 1974 when it bought a local company for $500,000. At the time, Samsung was struggling in the field, with technology reviews more than a decade behind those of its US and Japanese rivals at an earlier stage. "When we ask Japanese companies to co-operate or bring in technology, they say 'you are not there yet', which makes us feel despised and embarrassed."
Lee Byung-chull, the founder of Samsung Group, has devoted himself to cultivating technical talents in order to become a world-class company. He added that continued investment had helped Samsung dominate the memory chip business. Samsung Electronics stood out in the global memory chip market in the 1980s thanks to three favorable factors: low oil prices, low interest rates and the depreciation of the Won. "We must be prepared to seize the opportunity."
He warned, If the current shortage of manpower and strict regulations continue, Korea s semiconductor industry could collapse. "Even if the government and academia actively support the normal operation of enterprises, we cannot guarantee (survival) in such fierce competition." The government should first change its attitude toward the semiconductor industry.