Paul van Gerven
13 December 2023

ASML has agreed to set up its first overseas R&D site. During a visit of South Korea’s president Yoon Suk Yeol to Veldhoven, the equipment maker signed a memorandum of understanding with Samsung Electronics to establish a 760-million-dollar EUV process technology R&D center in South Korea. The visit produced two more deals: a bilateral talent development program and, with SK Hynix, a program to start recycling hydrogen gas used in EUV equipment.

ASML Korea
Dignitaries at the signing ceremony. In the middle, president Yoon Suk Yeol and King Willem-Alexander and going from right to left, ASM CEO Benjamin Loh, TU Eindhoven president Robert-Jan Smits and ASML CEO Peter Wennink. Credit: ASML on X

The set of agreements was presented as a “semiconductor alliance.” In South Korea, semiconductor leadership is a matter of national importance. Fueled by both fierce competition between companies as well as countries, South Korea is looking to strengthen bonds with key partners, including ASML and ASM. Additionally, geopolitical tensions encourage the local presence of key suppliers. President Yoon met with ASML CEO Peter Wennink twice, in November last year and July this year, to ask the company to expand its investment in Korea.

To address the global labor shortage, the Korean and Dutch governments are setting up an Advanced Semiconductor Academy. Organized by Eindhoven University of Technology’s High-Tech Systems Centre and supported by ASML, ASM, Imec, NXP, the Korea Semiconductor Industry Association, the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology and Brainport Development, the academy will facilitate the exchange of talent and knowledge in the semiconductor sector. The first week-long meeting has been planned for next February.