(ATTN: UPDATES with President Yoon's remarks; ADDS photo)
SEOUL, March 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will create the world's largest semiconductor cluster in the Seoul metropolitan area by attracting 300 trillion won (US$229.81 billion) in investments as part of efforts to secure a competitive edge in the sector, the industry ministry said Wednesday.
It is part of the government's comprehensive plan to promote six key industries -- chips, displays, secondary batteries, bio, future vehicles and robots -- which also called for the corporate investment of 550 trillion won by 2026, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The envisioned cluster of system semiconductors will be set up in Gyeonggi Province, which is expected to harbor five advanced chip fabrication facilities and around 150 materials, parts and fabless companies by 2042.
The new complex will be located near existing chips facilities run by Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc., as well as a number of parts and equipment companies, and fabless firms, so that the country will be able to have the world's largest mega cluster for semiconductors according to the plan, the ministry said.
President Yoon Suk Yeol announced the plan while presiding over an economic policy meeting.
"Cutting-edge industries are a core growth engine, as well as a security and strategic asset, and directly connected to our jobs and public's livelihoods," he said during the meeting held at the former presidential compound of Cheong Wa Dae.
"We already possess world-class technological and production capabilities in several areas, such as memory chips and OLED displays. The government must firmly support the private sector's investment for further growth," he added.
Yoon said the government will also build 14 national advanced industry complexes spanning a total area of over 33 million square meters outside the capital area in an effort to nurture the space, future vehicle and hydrogen industries.
The government is also pushing to invest 3.2 trillion won by 2030 in the development of technologies for next-generation semiconductors needed for power generation, vehicles and artificial intelligence, among other things.
It also aims to nurture 10 fabless firms with annual sales of over 1 trillion won by extending support for their prototype production, the ministry said.
"The mega cluster will have the whole semiconductor value chain," the ministry said in a release. "The government will implement measures to become a global leader in the system semiconductor industry without a hitch in close cooperation with companies."
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