Korea lags in analog, experts warn

Mark LaPedus
(10/16/2009 2:08 $ EDT)
URL: http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=220601073 ILSAN-SEOGU, South Korea — Korea is a powerhouse in memory, but the nation continues to lag in analog, warned government officials.
"In the analog side, we lack competitiveness,” said Tae-Sung Park, director of the Semiconductor, Display and Electric Industries Division for the government-backed Ministry of Knowledge Economy in Korea.
During a keynote address during the Analog Semiconductor Leaders’ Forum 2009 here, Park said the Korean government is looking to reverse the trends. Several years ago, the nation started the ”System IC 2010” project, an effort to jump-start the nation’s fabless community, including analog startups.
As a result of the project, several analog/mixed-signal fabless companies have emerged in Korea, such as Pulsus, TLI, Silicon Mitus, Silicon Works and others. Dongbu HiTek, an analog foundry in Korea, has emerged. Silicon Works’ investors include LG Display Co.
Some believe the nation has fallen short of its goals of developing a fabless analog IC industry, which is troubling for several reasons. First, the nation must import an inordinate amount of analog chips from foreign sources. Second, many new chip designs require the marriage of logic and analog.
The Analog Semiconductor Leaders’ Forum was sponsored by Dongbu.

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