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S. Korea's SMEs perfect their own parts and materials for the semiconductor industry

S. Korea's SMEs perfect their own parts and materials for the semiconductor industry
"우리기술로 日극복"…기술자립 강소기업을 가다Long before Japan's export restrictions kicked in,.... small-and-mid sized companies here in Korea have been trying to localize and perfect their own parts and materials needed for the semiconductor industry.Our Kim Da-mi has this story.These connectors are just one of a thousand parts used to make a smartphone... but they are essential if a smartphone is to function properly.Smaller than the size of an ant, the board-to-board connectors connect electric circuits.From its raw material Hyper Phosphor Bronze to the manufacturing process,... the connectors are 100 percent made in South Korea."New future growth is derived from persistent and continuous R&D. We have poured in more than 10 million U.S. dollars over the past 4 years, which has allowed us to export our very own products to China and even Japan."Another local SME has mastered the production of reclaimed wafer... and is more well-known in the global semiconductor industry.Reclaimed wafers are recycled wafers.With its wafers mostly exported to the U.S., the firm is one of the largest reclaimed wafer suppliers in the Asia-Pacific region. Plus, its wafers are 30 percent cheaper than the Japanese ones.These local firms, however, struggle to shine because of large conglomerates' preference for foreign products after years of heavy reliance and easy access."Local conglomerates have been loyal customers of Japanese parts and material firms for their advanced technologies and close geographical distance. South Korea's large and frequent orders of Japanese products over the years have pushed Japanese firms to further develop skills and technologies."Instead, local SMEs say it's time to trust Korea's localized products.The more they are used, the more they will improve through trial and error.To do that, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups promised earlier last week to help match conglomerates with SMEs, so they can build symbiotic relations with their needs and wants."A cooperating system needs to be constructed where conglomerates request for parts and materials they need and local SMEs develop and produce them."Insisting on adopting local products may be unrealistic in the world of global value chains. But active use of local products will help local firms survive and thrive against global competition,... and bring Korea one step closer to technological independence.KIM Da-mi, Arirang News."

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