Dr. Chang Dae-whan, Chairman of the Maekyung Media Group, delivers an opening speech at the 2023 World Knowledge Forum. [Photo by Han Joo-hyung]
In the ongoing war for technological supremacy between the United States and China, there is a saying that holds true: To determine the ultimate victor, all you need to do is examine ASML, the semiconductor equipment giant. ASML is the manufacturer behind the crucial extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography equipment that is indispensable for advanced semiconductor production. Its formation was the result of a collaborative effort involving the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands. While Japanese companies once ventured to challenge ASML, they eventually withdrew after realizing that it was impossible for a single country to compete with a formidable technological alliance such as the one formed by these three nations and serves as a stark reminder of the significance of forming alliances to secure leadership in the ongoing battle for technological dominance. It also underscores the need to create a dynamic and interconnected “Technium,” where each participant’s technology continually integrates and advances in synergy with the others.
Dr. Chang Dae-whan, Chairman of the Maekyung Media Group, proposed the creation of a “Grand Technium Alliance” for South Korea’s continuous innovation and growth during his opening remarks at the 2023 World Knowledge Forum launched on Tuesday, pointing to ASML as a case in point for Technium.
The development of a prototype EUV equipment was accomplished by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the United States, with Intel subsequently selecting Dutch company ASML as the commercialization partner for this equipment, investing billions of dollars and companies like Cymer in the United States and Carl Zeiss in Germany supplying critical components to ASML. The advanced laser system crucial for EUV generation took Germany a decade to develop, and the system consists of over 450,000 individual parts. ASML’s core competency lies in organizing and operating this vast Technium innovation ecosystem while Japanese companies failed to create such an ecosystem.
In the U.S.-China technology supremacy battle, the winner will be the country that creates a more innovation-friendly Technium and renders the question of which side to choose meaningless, with Chang noting, “We should ask, ‘Which side possesses a more sustainable innovation Technium?’” With countries with less individual freedom unlikely to play a significant role in the Technium, South Korea, as a democracy, should create a Technium alongside liberal democracies.
Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol also reinforced this sentiment in his video message sent to the World Knowledge Forum, saying that the country will strengthen partnerships with the United States and Japan that share core values.
By Editorial Team
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