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Samsung, Ministry of SMEs and Startups Team Up to Boost Korea's Fabless Semiconductor Ecosystem

Photo by Maxence Pira / Unsplash

Seoul, South Korea - The Ministry of SMEs and Startups has partnered with Samsung Electronics to support fabless companies.

Why it matters:

The Ministry of SMEs and Startups and Samsung Electronics collaboration aims to strengthen the semiconductor ecosystem by recognizing and supporting emerging fabless companies.

This initiative is critical to revitalizing Korea's semiconductor industry and promoting balanced growth between fabless companies and foundries.

The Key Points

The annual "Fabless Challenge" event was hosted by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups in partnership with Samsung Electronics on August 29 at the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises' DMC Tower.

Five fabless startups were selected after an extensive evaluation, including document reviews and expert presentations: Alpha Solutions, Inc., BOS Semiconductors, Damoa Tech, Gwanak Analog, and ONE SEMICON.

The selected startups will receive privileged access to Samsung Electronics' Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) fabrication process.

At the same time, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups has committed to covering development costs of up to KRW 100 million per company.

The Big Picture

The semiconductor ecosystem in South Korea is undergoing a strategic shift.

The "Fabless Challenge" has been a staple since 2022, highlighting the growth and interdependence between fabless companies and foundries.

As the name suggests, this event identifies and supports promising fabless companies, strengthening the system semiconductor ecosystem.

Vice Minister OH Kee-woong, who is responsible for SMEs and start-ups, underscored the importance of this effort by stating, "The development of cutting-edge fabless companies for system semiconductors is imperative for the revitalization of Korea's semiconductor sector. He reiterated Ministry of SMEs and Startups' commitment to supporting promising fabless companies and ensuring a harmonious growth balance between fabless companies and foundries.

Samsung Electronics has pledged to prioritize the MPW manufacturing process and related technologies for the selected startups.

This process, MPW, is known for its method of developing products by integrating multiple chip designs on a single wafer, typically used for prototyping or research purposes.