Amid trade row with Japan, South Korea gains Dupont investment to make chip materials

By Heekyong Yang

South Korea says DuPont will invest $28 million in the country to produce advanced photoresists and other materials by 2021, a move that will help reduce its reliance on Japan for the products used in semiconductor manufacturing.

Amid a bilateral row over wartime laborers, Japan in July imposed curbs on exports of three materials including photoresists to South Korea, prompting a scramble among South Korean tech firms to diversify their supply chain.

Last month, Japan reversed the curbs on exports of photoresists, although tighter curbs on the two other materials - fluorinated polyimides used in smartphone displays and hydrogen fluoride used as an etching gas when making chips - remain.

“Although Japan has recently eased export controls of photoresists, which is partial progress, but it is not a fundamental solution,” South Korea’s Industry Minister Sung Yoon-mo said in a statement.

A trade ministry official said DuPont will invest in two existing factories in South Korea and build a new one.

Photoresists are thin layers of material used to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers. Japan produces around 90% of photoresists.

The ministry official said Dupont’s Korean subsidiary currently produces photoresists, but not ones needed to make chips with an advanced technique known as extreme ultraviolet or EUV lithography.

The new investment will also go towards the production of CMP pads, which are polishing pads used during the semiconductor manufacturing process, the ministry said.

A representative for the U.S. industrial materials maker was not immediately available for comment.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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It's not surprising that the one material that Japan allowed to be exported to South Korea without going through the normal export procedures and timeframes, is also the one material that South Korea gets outside investment to be able to produce on their own.... ie: this is the least crucial of the sensitive materials that could be used for weapons manufacture by North Korea, after having secured cargo via illicit import from South Korea.

Woopdeedoo.... there are still 100 other sensitive materials that Japan can make South Korea go through *normal export procedures** to obtain.

*Not 'tightened' controls to make it look like Japan is actually limiting South Korea somehow, NORMAL, as in, the same procedures China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia etc etc have to go through and they do not complain because it's NORMAL.

South Korea: crying about normal export procedures as if they are punishment.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

South Korea would use any leverage, any advantage against Japan to get their way, to get more money and apologies. Japan on the other hand uses kitty golves, white gloves of care in response to decades of Korean lies, backing away from deals, being aggressive in Japan Sea, boycott on mass, smearing Japan's image overseas, Korean communities outside of Korea have one thing in common. Hate towards Japan and Japanese people. Kids have been attacked for being Japanese in California by Koreans several times. Bullying for being Japanese by Koreans.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

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