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Japan restricts the export of semiconductor materials, and it is difficult for South Korea to self-produce

In the case of Japan's efforts to restrict the export of semiconductor materials, many Koreans have called for South Korea to produce their own products, but the "Yonhap News" report pointed out that the technology gap between South Korea and Japan is large and it is difficult to fully produce itself.

The Korean semiconductor industry mainly produces high-profile memory semiconductors, so only more advanced materials can be used. According to estimates by the International Semiconductor Industry Association (SEMI), the 2017 self-production rate of semiconductor materials in Korea was 50.3%, but the industry pointed out that this year's level has not improved.

Although the Korea Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Resources set a target in February last year, it plans to increase the self-yield to 70% in 2022 and promote a 2 trillion-kilometer enterprise cooperation project during the five-year period. However, people in the semiconductor industry pointed out that although the government tried to produce these materials, it has not yet made new progress. On the other hand, if South Korea wants to catch up with Japanese technology, it will not only have high development costs, but only large enterprises have the ability to carry out even technology development. It is also difficult to avoid the patents registered in Japan.

On the other hand, for semiconductor manufacturing, semiconductor equipment replacement is easy, but replacement materials suppliers have to re-lay the production line. If Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and other companies do not promote it, it is difficult for South Korea to produce related materials.

The Japanese government plans to tighten some of its semiconductor and display materials exported to South Korea on the 4th. Materials restricted by Japanese exports include fluorinated polyimide, photoresist and high-purity hydrogen fluoride. Fluorinated polyimide is a kind of PI film, which can be used for folding screen display, semiconductor packaging, 3D printing, etc. Japan's fluorinated polyimide has a global market share of 90%. Photoresist is used for fine pattern processing of integrated circuits, semiconductor discrete devices, etc. Japan has a global market share of 90%. High-purity hydrogen fluoride is an essential material in the semiconductor cleaning process, and Japan has a global market share of 70%.

However, the output of Korean photoresist and high-purity hydrogen fluoride is close to zero. In particular, in the semiconductor on-board circuit exposure process, it is necessary to apply a plurality of layers of photoresist on the silicon wafer, and the core material is currently 100% from Japan. People in the photoresist manufacturing industry said that South Korea did not dare to invest heavily in the technology because of the late start of photoresist manufacturing in South Korea and the low demand for micro-engineering. Another person in the photoresist manufacturing industry also pointed out that although the technology of different companies is different, South Korea is still unable to replace Japan in the stage of technology development.

The situation of high-purity hydrogen fluoride is relatively optimistic. Many large companies began supporting the industry last year, and this year is expected to increase production and enter the self-production stage. However, people in the industry believe that the high-purity hydrogen fluoride currently used is a dry etchant, most of which is imported from Japan. Even if Korea advertises the same high-purity hydrogen fluoride, if the process is different, if it is really the same as Japan, it will have to It is not easy to invest money like a new venture.

The industry also added that the self-production of semiconductor materials requires medium and long-term investment, and the determination of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix is ​​required, and the exact self-production data is available.