In three decades at Korea’s Samsung Electronics, Yang Hyang-Ja helped shape the company’s present dominance in global memory chipmaking. Now, she’s taking on a far broader challenge: ensuring Korea remains relevant as the U.S. and China fight over semiconductors.
“We’re in a chip war,” Yang told Fortune. “Technology supremacy is a way that our country can take the lead in any security-related agenda, such as diplomatic and defense issues, without being swayed by other nations.”
Her efforts may be starting to bear fruit. Last month, parliament passed Korea’s version of the U.S. Chips Act.
According to the report, Korea has a unique opportunity: Taiwan — home to TSMC — produces the majority of leading-edge chips controlling the newest iPhones, servers and supercomputers. That’s triggered calls worldwide to diversify production away from an island that China claims and has threatened to invade. “Samsung is the only company in the world that can fill in for TSMC,” Yang told Fortune.
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