SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will offer more tax incentives and financial support to chipmakers and nurture 150,000 experts in the field in an effort to encourage the firms to push ahead with their investment plans without a hitch, the industry ministry said Thursday.
Major tech companies, including Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc., have vowed to invest a combined 340 trillion won (US$258.69 billion) at home over the next five years amid fierce competition over tech prowess and growing woes over supply chain disruptions.
The government vowed full support to make the country a global "superpower in the semiconductor industry" and unveiled a set of measures, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
According to the plan, the government vowed to provide firms with funds for their construction of key infrastructure at semiconductor complexes in Pyeongtaek and Yongin, both located south of Seoul.
It also will ease regulations regarding the facilities' construction and speed up state approval procedures by revising related laws.
The strategy also called for raising the rate of tax deduction for large-sized companies' investment in key facilities and technologies to up to 12 percent. Currently, mid-sized firms enjoy up to 12 percent of tax credit, while the figure for conglomerates came to 10 percent.
The government also decided to relax labor rules for chipmakers to allow workers in the semiconductor sector to work up to 64 hours per week, rather than the current 52 hours per week.
The government also vowed efforts to pull up the country's market share of the global system semiconductor market to 10 percent by 2030 from the current 3 percent.
South Korea has maintained the world's top position in the memory chip sector. But the competitiveness in the system semiconductor sector is still lagging behind.
Some 1.25 trillion won will be earmarked by 2029 for the development of the AI semiconductor sector, and another 1.5 trillion won will be used to back the domestic fabless industry, according to the ministry.
It also seeks to raise the proportion of homegrown materials, parts and equipment in the field to 50 percent by 2030 from the current 30 percent by expanding research and development projects.
By 2031, the government plans to nurture 150,000 talents by backing specialized graduate schools and creating related courses reserved for non-major students.
It also plans to set up "a semiconductor academy" to provide college students, job seekers, new recruits and others with tailored education and training starting next year. The program is expected to help nurture 3,600 experts over the next five years, according to the ministry.
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