Korean chip-manufacturers in search of alternative supplies of semiconductor materials

Korean chip-manufacturers in search of alternative supplies of semiconductor materials

The tech giants SK Hynix & Samsung Electronics are now looking for alternative sources of high-tech materials, inclusive of efforts to localize their production in response to the export curbs by Japan.

According to the most recent reports from the foreign press lend authority to speculation that the Korean firms are searching for ways to bring a reduction in their dependence on Japan.

The Japanese financial newspaper ‘Nikkei’ reported on Tuesday that the tech giants have initiated conducting quality tests for etching gas that does not originate from Japan.

It stated that the Samsung Electronics & SK Hynix could manufacture semiconductors of similar quality as the ones using Japanese-made etching gas in a period of around two to three months.

According to another Japanese financial newspaper, Nihon Keizai, which released a similar report, while predicting that the supplier of the etching gas in question could be from Taiwan, China, or Korea.

At the same time, Shanghai Securities News of China reported on Tuesday that a Chinese chemical firm, Binhua Group, had signed an agreement with the Korean chip-manufacturers for supplying etching gas.

The export curbs by Tokyo are inclusive of the three crucial chemicals involved for the manufacturing of semiconductors; photoresists, fluorinated polyimides, and etching gas which are used for the production of chips & displays for TVs and smartphones.

Kore, on the other hand, is relatively less dependent on Japan for the supply of etching gas as compared to fluorinated polyimides & photoresists, of which 90% are imported.

China accounted for 46.3% of South Korea’s etching gas imports from January to May this year, followed by Japan at 43.9%, according to the Korea International Trade Association

This proposes that Beijing could satisfy Korea’s demand for etching gas, even if the supply from Japan was disturbed.