Woo Sung-deok and Kim Hyo-jin
South Korea’s local governments are in a heated competition to bring home new chip lines of the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker SK Hynix in a government-backed project worth 120 trillion won ($106.9 billion) to create the world’s largest semiconductor cluster by 2028.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy last month announced to sponsor SK Hynix in setting up four new wafer fabrication lines and a value chain for 50 parts and materials suppliers. The project is estimated to cost about 120 trillion won over the next 10 years.
SK Hynix plans to make a final decision on the location in the first half of 2019 and shell out 1.6 trillion won for the first-stage construction.
Local governments and residents have joined forces to bring the mega project to their home ground at a time regional economies are suffering from stagnation and streamlining in traditional factory industries.
Yongin City of Gyeonggi Province touts the merits of its road and other infrastructure as its Giheung district is home to one of the three fabrication complexes of Samsung Electronics.
Icheon in Gyeonggi Province, where SK Hynix is already based, is determined not to lose out. Councilmen gathered on Christmas Day to declare a resolution to go all-out in their efforts to win the deal. Cheongju City of North Chungcheong Province, where SK Hynix turns out NAND flash chips, also joined the race by protesting against another mega industrial complex going to Gyeonggi Province near the capital area.
In Gumi of North Gyeongsang Province, citizens have joined the campaign by starting an ice bucket challenge last week despite the freezing weather.