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Korea attracts more investment with groundbreaking of ASML chip cluster 2022-11-15

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on November 15 that construction for Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML’s new headquarters in South Korea’s Hwaseong is to begin, bringing greater investment from four major chip equipment producers (Applied Materials, ASML, Lam Research, Tokyo Electron) that take up more than 60 percent of the global market, which will substantially contribute to enhancing Korea’s technological competitiveness.

The groundbreaking ceremony for ASML’s Hwaseong cluster will be held on November 16, where MOTIE’s Deputy Minister for Trade and Investment Moon Dong-min is to give his congratulatory message.

ASML CEO Peter Wennink will attend the ceremony in person, along with approximately 160 attendees, including Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Dong-yeon and Hwaseong City Mayor Jeong Myeong-geun.

As sole supplier of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) photolithography machines essential for advanced chip-making, ASML leads the global chip industry in terms of total market value. ASML’s Hwaseong semiconductor cluster plan includes building centers for training and experience for transferring high-tech technology related to deep ultraviolet (DUV) and EUV parts manufacturing. The overall investment amounts to KRW 240 billion and 16,000 square meters in scale, and will be completed by 2025.

MOTIE and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) have worked closely with ASML since 2020 for this project to take off, of which the investment MOU was signed in November of 2021.

More recently, MOTIE has been making efforts to ease regulations that hamper investment in Korea through regulatory improvement for next-generation EUV equipment. Also, Deputy Minister Moon’s visit to ASML headquarters in the Netherlands was a part of continued investment negotiations.

The Hwaseong semiconductor cluster is assessed to enable closer cooperation with the global semiconductor equipment giant, while bolstering the EUV photolithography and such high-tech parts supply chain.

Deputy Minister Moon’s congratulatory message will convey that ASML’s new Korean base will contribute immensely to strengthening the bilateral high-tech ecosystem, and that the Ministry will fully assist ASML and maintain a cooperative communication channel in order to draw further investment into the Hwaseong cluster infrastructure.