Korea outpaced Japan last year to grab the second largest share of the global semiconductor market for the first time, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Monday.
Korea achieved the feat 31 years after Samsung Group began memory chip production back in 1983.
Market researcher iSuppli estimates semiconductor sales totaled US$317.9 billion last year. Korea accounted for $50.1 billion and a market share of 15.8 percent, outpacing Japan's $44.3 billion and 13.9 percent.
But experts cautioned that Korea needs to diversify semiconductor applications to keep abreast of increasing global competition.
Joo Dae-young at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade said, "Product diversification is needed to move on from memory chips to semiconductors for medical and automotive applications, as well as system semiconductors" to ensure that Korea does not follow in Japan's footsteps and loses competitiveness over a short period.