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Korea and Taiwan in the US-China Hi-Tech Rivalry: Special Lecture with Dr. Keun Lee

January 11, 2024

On Monday, February 12 at 3:30 in HUB 337, the Center for Korea Studies and the Taiwan Studies Programs welcomed Y.T. Shim Visiting Professor, Dr. Keun Lee (Seoul National University) for a special lecture.  Based on a working paper, Dr. Lee’s talk analyzed China’s complicated geopolitical position within global semiconductor supply chains and the similarly difficult situation forced upon South Korean and Taiwanese firms by accelerating US-China rivalry.

Given US determination to curb China’s rise in technological and market power, China is now driven to develop new trajectories to reduce dependency on Western technologies or to outright leapfrog existing technologies that are currently controlled by the US and its allies. Are China’s designs possible? Coinciding with likely decoupling of semiconductor technologies between the US and China, South Korea and Taiwanese firms may be compelled to develop new value chains to serve the decoupling markets. As Korea and Taiwan are top producers of semiconductors supported by a complex supply chain of equipment and material led by the US and its allies, would it be possible and sensible for the leading firms within each nation to divide their semiconductor GVCs in two to serve each market? As these GVCs continue to fragment, who are the losers and winners?


Keun Lee is a Distinguished Professor at the Seoul National University (Econ.). He is an editor of Research Policy, an associate editor of Industrial and Corporate Change, and the winner of the Schumpeter Prize in 2014. He received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Lee is currently the Y.T. Shim Visiting Professor with the Jackson School for Winter quarter 2024.