The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) is set to launch intellectual property (IP) support programs in order to accelerate promotion of the system semiconductor industry. The program will involve global semiconductor IP companies such as Synopsys and ARM to help fabless companies and design house companies in South Korea. The South Korean government will also provide financial support to South Korean fabless companies so that they can utilize IPs from South Korean IP companies at low cost.
The MOTIE held an inauguration ceremony for the programs and a conference at the System Semiconductor Design Support Center in Pangyo on Tuesday.
The ministry has prepared various programs in order to lessen burden for the system semiconductor industry from using IPs.
Semiconductor IPs are a blueprint related to important functional blocks that are necessary in semiconductor chip design. Besides CPUs and GPUs that are well known to public, IPs are important tools in designing a variety of chips. Foreign companies such as Synopsys and Cadence based in the United States and ARM based in England usually create semiconductor IPs.
Prices of such IPs can vary depending on their types. However, they are usually very costly as single IP can cost up to millions of dollars. Such amount is a huge burden for South Korean fabless companies that are operating their businesses under poor conditions. The South Korean government has recognized the issue and plans to launch three programs by working with domestic and foreign IP companies in order to support the system semiconductor industry.
The programs will help the industry with providing discounted prices for using foreign semiconductor IPs, establishing a platform for utilizing semiconductor IPs, and providing support in utilizing domestic semiconductor IPs.
Synopsys will be involved in providing discounted prices for using its IPs. The company will provide its IPs on discounted prices to South Korean fabless companies through the System Semiconductor Design Support Center that opened last year. On top of that, the center will provide an additional 10% discount to discounted prices offered by Synopsys.
One official from the MOTIE said that South Korean fabless companies will be able to use Synopsys’ IPs at hugely discounted prices.

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<Minister Sung Yoon-mo of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy took a commemorative picture with attendees at an inauguration ceremony for semiconductor IP support programs that was held at System Semiconductor Design Support Center on Tuesday.>

A platform that will allow South Korean fabless companies to utilize a variety of semiconductor IPs will be based on ARM and South Korean design house companies collaborating to provide free consulting to the fabless companies. Through ARM’s online platform, the fabless companies will be provided with consulting so that they can create best products using ARM’s IPs.
The MOTIE has also established a program that will promote cooperation between South Korean semiconductor IP companies and fabless companies. The ministry has created a measure that will allow fabless companies to receive up to 50% discount in using domestic IPs created by OPENEDGES Technology and others.
Discount up to $45,000 (50 million KRW) will be provided this year when the ministry will test the three programs, and higher discount will be provided next year when the ministry will officially roll out the programs on full scale. The ministry is also planning on providing additional support measures after having discussions with South Korean semiconductor IP companies.
“These programs will provide support on 70% of the IPs that are currently used in the system semiconductor industry.” said Cho Ik-noh who is the head of the MOTIE’s Semiconductor Display department. “We plan to expand the scale of our programs even more in the future.”
A conference where South Korean system semiconductor companies discussed about potential directions of the industry was also held on this day. Key personnel including Minister Sung Yoon-mo of the MOTIE, President Choi Si-young of Samsung Electronics’ foundry business, and Vice Chairman Choi Chang-sik of DB HiTek were in attendance at the event.
At the event, Minister Sung said that the government plans to provide support as much as possible in order to help the semiconductor industry to deal with excessive demands and continue to be a leader in the global market. He also asked the attendees to actively push for cooperation between companies and new investments for the future.
Staff Reporter Kang, Hyeryung |