Aims to localize military, aviation, and space industry application
Development of GaN chip promising for future value + economic security
Cooperation between Korean equipment companies… opens up pos

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Hanwha is entering the power semiconductor business. Power semiconductors are components that converts or amplifies electricity into the form required by electronic devices. This is the first time that Hanwha has entered the power semiconductor market, and it aims to develop high-output products that are capable of being used in industries such as the national defense, aviation, and space industries.

According to the industry on the 17th, Hanwha began its power semiconductor business at the Hanwha Solutions Central Research Institute (Hanwha Future Technology Research Institute). It was confirmed that Vice Chairman Dong-kwan Kim of Hanwha Solutions ordered the localization of power semiconductors. Hanwha Solutions has explored ways to cooperate with Korean semiconductor equipment companies and is starting the business by opening various possibilities for self-development and even mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Specific items have not been confirmed. However, it has been reported that next-generation power semiconductors using Gallium Nitride are strong candidates. Gallium Nitride has a breakdown voltage (maximum voltage that a semiconductor device can withstand) that is three times higher than that of Silicon (Si), which is widely used as a semiconductor material, and is a component that is advantageous for high-voltage operations. This is necessary for things like military radars, high-frequency communication systems, and power systems for EVs, which require high-output. As it has a high future value and is closely linked with security, it is being managed as a strategic item. As it has high military and industrial applications, it has been interpreted that Hanwha has chosen GaN power semiconductors as next generation engines of growth. Commercialization of Gallium Nitride-based power amplification devices is predicted.

Gallium Nitride power semiconductors are being led by overseas semiconductor companies, such as STMicroelectronics, II-VI, Onsemi, and Rohm. Semiconductors have become a security asset as competition for global technological supremacy intensifies and the tendency for self-prioritization in nations has become stronger after COVID-19. Attention is focusing on whether Hanwha will play an important role not only in the Korean defense industry, but in the semiconductor industry as well.

In promoting their Gallium Nitride semiconductor business, the Hanwha Group is reviewing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) with Korean and overseas companies. Power semiconductor material companies in Korea and overseas have been chosen as candidates for acquisitions. With the recent acquisition of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Hanwha is taking a leap as a global defense company that encompasses existing terrestrial, space, and marine industries, while also standing out in the solar power sector as well. It is interpreted that the company is also promoting the internalization of semiconductors to expand group synergy. Hanwha also has a business for system semiconductors for closed-circuit (CC)TVs and an AI semiconductor business.

An official of Hanwha said that, “We are in the stage of reviewing the semiconductor business with priority for military use,” and said that, “We are exploring various possibilities for commercialization.”

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Reporter Ji-woong Kim (