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A Feud Between Japan and South Korea Is Threatening Global Supplies of Memory Chips

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNN: South Korea has warned that an escalating trade dispute with Japan could hurt the global tech industry. President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that Japan’s decision to restrict exports to South Korea of materials used in memory chips are a “blow to the economy” and threaten to disrupt global supplies. Japan announced earlier this month that companies would need a government license to export three materials to South Korea. The materials — fluorinated polyamides, photoresists and hydrogen fluoride — are used to make memory chips and smartphones.

The export controls are a massive headache for South Korean firms Samsung and SK Hynix, who between them control over 63% of the global memory chip market, according to the latest figures from the Korea International Trade Association. South Korean firms sourced 94% of fluorinated polyamides, 92% of photoresists and about 44% of hydrogen fluoride from Japan In the first quarter of this year, data from the association showed. Samsung, the world’s biggest seller of smartphones, said in a statement to CNN Business that it was “assessing the current situation and reviewing a number of measures to minimize the impact on our production.”


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