Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said Thursday the government plans to spend 6.3 trillion won (US$5.3 billion) to support corporate facility investment in vaccine development by 2024.
The move is aimed at nurturing the vaccine industry as a key sector at a similar level to the semiconductor industry as South Korea seeks to foster new industries to secure engines of growth, according to the finance minister.
Hong said the government will continue to support the development of homegrown COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, including coronavirus pills.
The government earlier designated chips, batteries and vaccines as three key national strategic technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the need for South Korea to develop homegrown vaccines to secure “vaccine sovereignty.”
The country has an ambitious plan to become a global hub for the production of COVID-19 vaccines by 2026.
The minister added the government will spare no efforts to support three key industries — future-generation vehicles, system semiconductors and bio-health — this year with policy means, including financial support and tax incentives.
The country will invest 6.3 trillion won in supporting what the government is calling the BIG 3 industries and spend 5.9 trillion won on nurturing the data, network and artificial intelligence sectors, Hong said.