IoT sensor market: Korea’s lukewarm approach ‘stifles growth’

Korean gov lukewarm approach stifles growth in IoT sensor market
The semiconductor market for IoT devices is also projected to grow 30% on average each year, to reach US$43.472 bn by 2020

In Southeast Asia, Korea’s sensor chip market as an enabler of Internet of Things (IoT) is still at a nascent stage due to the South Korean government’s passive approach, states Business Korea.

Local newspaper Business Korea said that sensors for Internet of Things devices are emerging as a new growth industry in the semiconductor market.

However, the newspaper reported that Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) has a lukewarm approach to the growing IoT sensor market, following an announcement in March 2014 of a “half-hearted” measure to foster the industry.

MOTIE has also had difficulty finding companies suitable for 11 national projects in the smart sensor area, which were made public in March 2015.

Further east, Japan, which accounts for 40% of the global sensor market, is actively participating in the Internet of Things through industry-academic cooperation, led by its government. Japanese technology giants such as Toshiba, Hitachi, telecommunications organisation NTT, and TDK are collaborating with research organisations to develop next-generation sensors.

Apple is also actively seeking to enter the Japanese market, based on its decision to set up a research center in Yokohama, Japan this year.

Slow growth in IoT sensor market

Korean multinational electronics company Samsung, which claims to have the world’s largest semiconductor business unit, depends primarily on foreign manufacturers to secure sensor chips used in mobile devices and consumer electronics.

SK Hynix, a South Korean memory semiconductor supplier and the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker, has begun to develop sensors for Internet of Things devices with local companies in 2014, however, it does not have any plans to make full-scale expansion into the market.

IoT sensor market

US information technology research company Gartner forecasts the semiconductor market for sensors used in IoT devices to surpass US$10 billion by 2020.

The size of the market for IoT-oriented sensors is likely to be more than 10 times bigger than that of the current semiconductor market.