Samsung is the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates that dominate business in South Korea Photo: AFP/File

Samsung seeks alternatives to Japanese suppliers in trade row

By Jung Yeon-je

South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics, the world's biggest smartphone and memory chip maker, is seeking alternatives to Japanese suppliers for some key materials, it said Wednesday with Seoul and Tokyo embroiled in a bitter trade dispute.

The row has seen the Japanese government impose restrictions on chemical exports crucial to chipmaking and last week Seoul and Tokyo removed each other from their "white lists" of trusted trading partners.

Two of the Japanese chemicals targeted, hydrogen fluoride gas and photoresists, are essential to making memory chips, while the third chemical, fluorinated polyimide, is used for high-spec TV screens and smartphone displays, including hotly-anticipated folding models from Samsung.

Tokyo's move has also raised international concern about the effect on global supply chains and possible price hikes for consumers worldwide.

A Samsung spokesperson told AFP the firm was "seeking ways to diversify" supplies of materials and components where it relied heavily on Japanese imports.

Analysts have warned the restrictions -- and reduction in the availability of the materials -- would "significantly impede" chip producers.

Japan holds a 60-70 percent share of the global hydrogen fluoride market, according to Taipei-based market intelligence firm TrendForce, which could make it difficult for Korean companies to find alternatives elsewhere.

But the Samsung spokesperson denied a South Korean media report that the firm had decided to replace all the approximately 220 Japanese chemicals and materials it uses for chip production with Korean or overseas products.

Samsung is by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates that dominate business in the world's 11th largest economy, and it is crucial to South Korea's economic health.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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hotly-anticipated folding models from Samsung.

...only in paid reviews and thinly veiled advertisements by Youtubers, paid by Samsung.

It's too expensive, and now will be even more expensive since South Korea will obtain their high tech materials from other smaller, more expensive suppliers. It's a flop waiting to be released.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Thought they were gonna make a partnership with their friendlier neighbors to the North? No?

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How is this news? They were already going to shift their value chain anyways

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good luck. Lmao

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But I keep on hearing from JT "expertise" that there's no need for concern as these 220 chemicals that Japan produces (70% of the Word's production is Japan's, btw), are easy to make; there are literally thousands of suppliers out there ready to jump on and take Japan's place.

China, Russia and even the Burkinabe could to a better job than backwards Japan.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

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