Korean engineers in demand in Chinese semiconductor industry to strengthen supply chain in response to US sanctions.
A Korean headhunting company is looking for semiconductor etching experts for a Chinese company. The job opportunity ad says a well-known foreign company is recruiting engineers with a master’s degree or higher who have worked as a section chief in the etching or plasma field. Etching is a process of drawing patterns on semiconductor circuits, and its importance is increasing as semiconductor production processes have recently been miniaturized to the nanometer level. Plasma refers to coating semiconductors with a thin layer, and is used for deposition, ion implant, and cleaning processes in addition to etching.
On another recruitment site, an ad posts jobs for 10-nano DDR4 DRAM designers, explicitly saying, “We will give preferential treatments to former engineers of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix.” The ad also lists exceptional working conditions such as the highest salary, good housing and the guarantee of international schools for workers’ children.
“I understand that Chinese companies are trying to contact employees of Samsung Electronics’ NAND flash plant in Xian, China, or SK Hynix’s DRAM plant in Wuxi to secure semiconductor human resources,” an industry watcher said. “Korean workers are fully aware of risks involved in moving to Chinese companies, but this does not mean that they will never move to Chinese companies.”
China prefers Korean workers in the memory semiconductor sector and Taiwanese workers in the fabless and foundry sectors, industry insiders say.
Chinese authorities feel a big sense of crisis as U.S. sanctions against Huawei have recently expanded to restrict the supply of memory semiconductors such as DRAMs and NAND flashes. As both Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are using equipment from U.S. semiconductor companies such as KLA, LAM Research, and Applied Materials, they are required to join the U.S. sanctions.
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