South Korea Deepens Commitment to AI Chips

Last fall at DEVIEW 2019, an artificial intelligence developers conference, South Korean President Moon Jae-in released his “Presidential Initiative for Artificial Intelligence,” declaring that his country would become ‘unrivalled’ in the use of AI.

On Monday, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on the country’s continuing efforts in the sector, stating that its ICT Ministry has set a goal of developing up to 50 types of artificial intelligence focused system semiconductors over the next decade, following the announcement of a planned investment earlier this year of $871 million.

In what it deemed the “best opportunities for semiconductor companies in decades,” in January of last year McKinsey published a report that emphasized AI’s reliance on hardware “as a core enabler of innovation,” when it came to both current and emerging applications. It predicted growth for AI-related semiconductors of roughly 18% annually over 3 years, which it believed would be five times greater than the rate for non-AI related chips.

Home to leading manufacturers of memory chips such as Samsung and SK Hynix, Inc., Yonhap’s reporting illustrates the steps South Korea is taking to aggressively seize such opportunities, seeking to capture 20 percent of the global AI semiconductor market by 2030.

The country is also a leading manufacturer of smart phones and other electronic devices and Samsung, which is currently the world’s 4th largest seller of 5G networking equipment and services is trying to improve its position in that sector as well, having signed a contract last month with Verizon Communications Inc., in the amount of $6.65 billion.

Categories: 5G, AI, Comparative Advantage, Digital Economy

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