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Gov't, firms to jointly invest in independent memory chip research
SEOUL, April 18 (Yonhap) -- The government and six private companies will jointly invest in research and development (R&D) of new technologies by a third party, the commerce ministry said Thursday.

   An investment agreement was signed Thursday between the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and six private firms, including the world's largest memory chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix.

   Under the agreement, the government and the six companies will jointly invest 25 billion won (US$22.27 million) over the next five years in R&D projects by universities or other independent institutes to develop new materials or technology for memory chips.

   The program will be the first of its kind as previous arrangements for joint R&D investment mostly entailed government support for R&D activities by the firms themselves.

   Under Thursday's agreement, intellectual property rights of any new technology or product developed under the program will also belong to its developers, the ministry said.

   The investing firms will instead benefit from the very use of the new advanced technologies to be developed, it added.

   South Korea currently supplies nearly half of the world's memory chips, but its share in the market for all semiconductors remains at around 14 to 15 percent, according to the ministry.

   bdk@yna.co.kr
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