AlphaGo’s win sparks interest in AI companies

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AlphaGo’s win sparks interest in AI companies

Interest in artificial intelligence (AI) soared on Thursday after Korea’s famed Go player Lee Se-dol lost his second match against Google’s AI computer algorithm AlphaGo, leading to a boost in share prices of AI-related companies.

Advanced Digital Chips, a provider of the microcontroller chips that serve as a critical component of AI systems, hit its upper price limit at 2,460 won ($2.05) on Thursday with a whopping 29.82 percent jump from the previous trading day.

DST System, a robot manufacturer, spiked 17.20 percent to 6,950 won. The company produces industrial and AI robots, and was first listed on the secondary Kosdaq market in 2006.

Yujin Robot, a maker of service robots known for its flagship cleaning bot iClebo, gained 5.59 percent to close at 5,290 won. The company recently reported it would invest 3 billion won into research and development for its robot business, and industry insiders say it has high growth potential.

Woori Technology, which counts KMC Robotics as an affiliate, strengthened 10.12 percent. Samick THK surged 14.97 percent, and Robostar went up 3.21 percent.

Overall, electronics rose 1.9 percent and semiconductors increased 2.28 percent on the main Kospi on Thursday. Mechanics shares also advanced 1.2 percent.

But experts warned people not to be overly confident in the prospects of these shares just yet.

“Some of those benefitting stocks are not even directly related to artificial intelligence,” said Park Yang-ju, an analyst from Daishin Securities. “We still have three more games to play, and I’m thinking the shares will continue to fluctuate depending on the match results.”

On the question of the actual profitability of the investment, he answered that it may be a “risky” choice for the time being.

“The AI sector itself has great potential, but investors need to check on the financial stability of the companies they are investing in,” he added.

Still, the increased interest in robotics and AI is expected to benefit Korea in the long term.

“AI technology will keep developing … and eventually grow to be a future growth engine for Korean companies,” an analyst from NH Investment & Securities said. “Chipmaker SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics may be possible beneficiaries.”


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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