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January 16, 2007 12:03 am

Hynix offers Seoul new chip plant plan

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South Korea’s commerce ministry has delayed a decision on whether to allow Hynix Semiconductor to build new chip plants on the Seoul outskirts after the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker offered to revise its plan.

Hynix’s offer came after South Korea’s president Roh Moo-hyun said earlier this month that the government would not permit the construction of additional factories in the capital area “except for some special cases”.

Concerns are growing over sluggish corporate investment in Asia’s third-largest economy. Residents in Ichon, some 80km south of Seoul, where Hynix wants to build the plants, rallied last week to demand that the government approve the company’s plan.

Hynix is planning to invest about Won13,500bn ($14.4bn) in three fabrication lines in Ichon by 2010, but the government has banned the construction of new factories in the metropolitan area due to concerns over environmental damage and economic concentration.

“The government will decide its stance after an extra review of the revised investment plans,” the ministry said.

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