In July last year, the conflict between Japan and South Korea called into question the uninterrupted supply of hydrogen fluoride to the second country, which is necessary for the etching of microcircuits and liquid crystal panels. Even Russia offered help, but now it turns out that South Korea has chosen to support domestic producers.
As noted by the Nikkei Asian Review, South Korean giant LG Display began using gas to etch domestic-made panels since last November. Earlier, LG preferred to import highly purified gas from Japan, purchasing it from Stella Chemifa, and then diluting it at the enterprises of the Korean company SoulBrain. The gas concentration decreased by a hundred times, but this is quite enough for the technological needs of Korean industry.
The restrictions caused by the 2019 conflict were partially lifted, but South Korean manufacturers came to the appropriate conclusions and began to partially use them for etching. gas local production. It is more expensive than relying on Japanese gas and requires some restructuring of the technological chains, but the political factor has not lost its weight in making such decisions, and the pandemic has only accelerated migration.
The Japanese gas supplier for the semiconductor industry, Stella Chemifa, reduced revenue by 18% in the last fiscal year. High purity gas supplies decreased by 30%. The competing company Morita Chemical Industries resumed raw material exports to South Korea in January, but shipments also fell by 30%. Many customers in South Korea have switched to local raw materials. Supported the course on import substitution and the company Samsung Electronics. The local government has proposed the American chemical giant Dupont to build a plant in South Korea, attracting it with tax benefits. And those Korean customers who have retained contracts with Japanese suppliers now have reason to agree to lower prices.
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