South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said on Thursday that it has formed a council to promote collaboration between local semiconductor and automobile companies.
The announcement comes amid a global shortage of semiconductors that have caused automobile companies to suspend production or reduce their production rate.
However, questions remain whether such council will sustain or come up with any meaningful results.
The ministry said the council held its first meeting on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by executives of Hyundai Motor, Hyundai Mobis, Samsung Electronics, DB HiTek, Telechips, Nestchip and related industry associations.
The ministry said ti hoped to make the recent shortage into an opportunity to increase the competence of automobile and semiconductors for the future. However, it also noted that microcontroller unit (MCU), which is in short supply for automobile companies, were not produced by any South Korean companies.
The government will support finding of a collaborate model between the attending companies, the ministry said. A specific plan based on the proposal made by attending organization of the meeting will be announced soon, it said.
The ministry said it was also in discussions with the international community to improve the current semiconductor shortage situation, following requests from the local automobile industry.
It is unclear whether these “discussions” mean the South Korean government has requested Taiwan’s TSMC to increase semiconductor production, as the governments of the US and Europe did.
In July 2009, the ministry made a similar announcement, saying Hyundai Motor and Samsung Electronics would co-develop automobile semiconductors.
The collaboration yielded no results, however.
Automobile semiconductors industry had a higher entry barrier technologically and was a smaller market those for consumer semiconductors, a person familiar with the matter said. Unless local automobile industry takes a forward-looking position, it was unlikely that there will be any meaningful collaboration from such a council, they added.