Sunday, July 7, 2019

Samsung, SK hynix searching for new suppliers of photoresist and fluorinated chemicals and gases due to Japanese export restrictions

The Korea Times report (LINK) that Samsung Electronics and SK hynix have been scrambling to find new supply sources for materials critical to manufacturing chips in response to Japan's export restrictions, industry officials said Thursday.  Tokyo's move is seen as retaliation against Seoul's Supreme Court ruling ordering Japanese firms to compensate colonial-era victims of forced labor.

The Japanese government started to impose tougher restrictions on exports of three items: 
  • photoresist
  • hydrogen fluoride (etchant)
  • fluorinated polyimide 
All chemicals are essentiial for producing semiconductors, and Samsung and SK hynix account for more than 70 percent of the global DRAM market and 40 percent of the NAND flash memory chip market.

"We believe the Japanese move is a clear act of economic retaliation," Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, said on a radio broadcast. "If the problem is not settled, surely Korea needs to ask the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make a judgment. But as it takes time for the WTO to deliver a verdict, it cannot be the only solution."
Source: Korea Times (LINK)

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