[Courtesy of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy]
South Korea secured a total of 1.5 trillion ($1.15 billion) won in investment from four U.S. companies, including General Motors Corporation (GM), to be used for both automobile production facilities and semiconductor materials, during President Yoon Suk Yeol’s visit to U.S. San Francisco for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, the Industry Ministry said Sunday. Investments made by U.S. semiconductor companies including DuPont de Nemours, Inc., IMC International Metalworking Companies B.V., and Ecolab Inc. are expected to boost the establishment of the Yongin semiconductor cluster, a project supported by both the public and private sectors.
In a statement released on Sunday, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced that GM, DuPont, IMC, and EcoLab will invest a total of 1.5 trillion won in Korea and are expected to begin their investments starting in 2024. The industry authority predicted that the investment would lead to an annual expansion of exports and import substitutions amounting to over 4.5 trillion won.
GM said it plans a substantial expansion of its automobile production facilities in Korea, making it the largest investment among the four companies. The specific investment amount was not disclosed, but GM Senior Vice Chairman Shilpan Amin expressed confidence in the Korean government’s regulatory reforms and global-standard institutional improvements during a meeting with Yoon on November 15 on the sidelines of the summit.
DuPont, a U.S. chemicals company, will invest over 200 billion won to enhance its semiconductor materials and components production plant and research and development (R&D) center, in line with the ongoing construction of the world’s largest semiconductor cluster in Yongin, Korea. The investment doubles the amount announced during Yoon’s visit to the U.S. in September 2022, an indicator of DuPont’s strategic focus on developing Korea as a key production and R&D hub.
DuPont operates a facility in Korea specializing in the production of photoresist, a crucial component serving as a photosensitizer in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) exposure equipment. This positions DuPont as a vital collaborator for Korean firms manufacturing advanced semiconductors. In addition to the photoresist, DuPont provides a diverse range of materials to Korean enterprises, alongside expectations that local production will gradually supplant the need for imports over the medium to long term.
IMC Group, the world’s second-largest metalwork producer, will further invest in Korea, strengthening its ties with Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc. The investment is expected to involve a production facility for tungsten oxide, a crucial material in semiconductor manufacturing processes and high strength tools, in IMC Group’s sixth investment in Korea.
EcoLab plans to build its first high-purity nanoparticle factory overseas in the country. This facility will produce colloidal silica, essential for semiconductor manufacturing, contributing significantly to a reliable supply chain for the semiconductor industry.
Industry Minister Bang Moon-kyu promised governmental support for better investment environments, saying, “This investment will contribute to the country’s effort to secure a reliable supply chain for the chip industry.”
By Hong Hae-jin, Choi Seung-jin, and Han Yubin
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