Korea Strengthens Semiconductor Ecosystem

Korea Strengthens Semiconductor Ecosystem

What do collaboration opportunities, parts/components sourcing, and China have in common?

All three present opportunities you can explore when engaging with Korean companies at SEMICON Korea 2017.

Thirty years ago, Korea represented a small fraction of the global semiconductor manufacturing base. Today, Korea represents the most leading-edge memory and logic manufacturing, as well as advanced packaging, in the world. Some key facts and observations include:

  • Companies in Korea are estimated to spend US$9.7 billion on equipment in 2017
  • Companies are forecasted to spend almost US$7.3 billion on semiconductor fab and packaging materials
  • Korea has almost 20 percent of the installed semiconductor fab manufacturing capacity worldwide (source: SEMI World Fab Forecast).
  • Fab capacity in Korea is estimated to capture over 25% share of the global 300mm fab manufacturing capacity.

Over the past five years alone, more than US$70 billion has been spent in Korea on semiconductor equipment and materials with another US$17 billion in total forecasted to be spent in 2017.

Korea Equipment & Materials Market - 2017 Forecast

With such spending and investment, Korea’s position in semiconductor industry has been strengthening in terms of its size and quality, and this has extended to include the supply chain companies in Korea. According to the Korean Semiconductor Industry Association (KSIA), Korean equipment, material, and component/subsystem companies are important players in the global market supplying the semiconductor, FPD, PV and other related microelectronic industries. Based on the KSIA’s 2015 market analysis, the size of the Korea suppliers are estimated as follows:


Supply Chain Segment


2015 Revenues

Top 24 Korean Equipment Companies

$4,249 M

Top 11 Korean Material Suppliers

$2,914 M

Top 5 Korean Subsystems/Component/Parts Suppliers

$364 M

SEMI’s coverage of the packaging materials market estimates that Korean suppliers had revenues of over $2.2 billion in the same year.

Nowadays, the competitiveness of Korean suppliers is very strong. Using the example of subsystems/critical components/parts, leading OEMs purchase significant amounts from Korean companies and device makers are very interested in Korea suppliers for development of second sources, which has been proven through the successful SSP (Supplier Search Program) at SEMICON Korea. According to John West, president VLSI Research Europe, the rise of Korean critical subsystems and components suppliers has been quite remarkable. Sales have increased around 20% year on year over the past 4 years to the point where they now supply over 6% of global demand for these products. This proves that, as a group, the Korean suppliers have crossed the tough performance and quality thresholds required to serve the semiconductor industry.

Korean suppliers are global players to the microelectronics industry, and these compares are eager to further grow and internationalize their business and to collaborate with multinational corporations (MNC).  As such, Korea is positioned as a stepping stone for advancing into China for the following reasons:

  1. Geographically it is very close.
  2. Both Samsung and SK Hynix have leading-edge fabs in China.
  3. Korean suppliers along the semiconductor supply chain have years of experience conducting   business in China and many companies have established operations there.

Korean companies can be good business partners for MNCs that want to penetrate into China, and it can be the best choice of a manufacturing site for serving the China market as well as customers in Korea.

Attend and participate at SEMICON Korea 2017 to understand the opportunities for collaboration with and sourcing from Korean companies, and for establishing partnerships as a stepping stone into China.

SEMICON Korea 2017, from February 8th – 10th at the COEX in Seoul, is the leading semiconductor technology event in Korea. Major programs include: Smart Manufacturing Forum, SEMI Technology Symposium, System LSI Forum, Metrology and Inspection Forum, Test Forum, Market Seminar and more. The event is an opportunity to meet and learn from more 100 global experts. A complete schedule of the program is available here:

New this year, 32 companies will showcase their innovations in the new LED Pavilion at SEMICON Korea 2017, an opportunity to meet the entire LED supply chain.

Complimentary registration for SEMICON Korea 2017, which includes access to the exhibition hall and keynote attendance, (www.semiconkorea.org/en/attend/registration) closes on February 1, 2017.

SEMI Global Update
January 10, 2017


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