World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

Tue, Dec 30, 2003 - Page 12

■ Semiconductor

Chipmakers boost output

Samsung Electronics Co and Hynix Semiconductor Inc have boosted production of faster computer memory chips, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported, citing unidentified officials at the South Korean companies. Production of 256-megabit double-data-rate dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips operating at a speed of 400 megahertz accounted for more than 80 percent of their DRAM production, replacing those operating at 266 megahertz and 333 megahertz as the benchmark, the newspaper said. The upgrade may pave the way for mass production of the so- called DDR2 chip, which is faster than the 400 megahertz chip, next year, the newspaper said.

■ Consumer Debt

S Korean economy `mired'

Uncertainties caused by a mountain of household debt and the ailing credit card industry are seriously impeding South Korea's economic recovery despite robust exports, data showed Monday. Industrial output growth in November slowed to 4.7 percent compared with a year earlier from the 7.4 percent rate recorded in October, with the figures hit by serious falls in domestic consumption and investment. Month-on-month, seasonally-adjusted industrial output suffered a 0.3 percent contraction in November, reversing a 2.4 percent gain a month earlier, the National Statistical Office (NSO) said Monday. "Consumption and investment are still mired in a slump due to weak consumer and corporate sentiment," the NSO said. "Still, exports continued their solid growth, offsetting lackluster domestic consumption."

■ Electronics

Sharp makes more LCD-TVs

Japanese high-tech firm Sharp Corp will invest ?90 billion (US$841 million) to boost production of large liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in a bid to take on its South Korean rivals, a report said yesterday. The investment will enable Sharp to triple production capacity at a new domestic plant, scheduled to go on line in January, to 360,000 units of 30-inch LCD-TVs each month, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. A company spokesman could not be reached for confirmation due to the New Year holidays. According to a US research firm, Sharp had a 13.4 percent share of the global LCD market last year, tying for second place with South Korea's LG Philips LCD Co. With the latest investment, the Japanese firm aims to take on South Korea's Samsung Electronics, the top player in the global LCD market with a 15.1 percent share.