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3.3% Market Share: Understanding Korea's Non-memory Semiconductor Industry


The Korean Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade (KIET) recently released a report titled "Global Non-Memory Semiconductor Market Landscape and Policy Implications," revealing that South Korea's market share in the global non-memory semiconductor sector was only 3.3% last year. This figure is significantly lower than Japan's one-third and China's half. The report also stated that the total size of the global non-memory semiconductor market in 2020 was 593 trillion won. The United States dominated the market with a 54.5% share, followed by Europe, Taiwan, Japan, and China. South Korea ranked last among major global semiconductor value chain participants, with a market share of 3.3% and a total sales figure of 20 trillion won.


In terms of market share within South Korea, Samsung Electronics led the pack with a share of 73.9%, equivalent to 112 billion dollars. LX Semicon and SK hynix followed with shares of 11.2% (17 billion dollars) and 5.9% (890 million dollars) respectively. Different countries have their competitive advantages and strategic positioning in the system semiconductor sector. The United States dominates most of the market, including integrated circuits, CPUs, smartphone application processors, wireless and graphic processing units, and programmable semiconductors. Europe specializes in microcontroller units for automobiles and industrial robots, as well as optical and non-optical sensors. Japan and Taiwan excel in discrete semiconductors, MCUs for cars and precision machinery, and components for smartphones, tablets, and PCs. China boasts a diverse range of components and a broad manufacturing portfolio.


KIET emphasized the importance of national strategic planning in the system semiconductor sector, particularly in light of the ongoing "semiconductor war" triggered by the competition between the United States and China. South Korea needs to address its low market share and strengthen its position in this critical industry. By investing in research and development, fostering innovation, and implementing effective policies, the country can enhance its competitiveness in the global non-memory semiconductor market.

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