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Japan supervises self-digging graves? South Korea's new supply system is now in its infancy

According to the Korean media etnews report, industry experts pointed out that South Korea has separately found short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions to Japan's restrictions on the export of three key semiconductor materials. Once South Korea's industry forms a stable supply system, Japanese industry will be countered by current regulatory rules.

Senior officials from the Korean semiconductor industry said that South Korea is almost ready to supply hydrogen fluoride solutions, and even under the supervision of the Japanese government, South Korea's semiconductor factories will not stop production.

It is understood that the short, medium and long-term solutions for the Korean industry are: ensuring inventory, supplier diversification and product localization.

A representative of the Korean materials industry pointed out that the Korean semiconductor factory plans to fully realize the diversification of suppliers from the end of this month. It can be seen that Japan's alternatives to hydrogen fluoride will be used after passing the test. "Although a final assessment is still needed, if there are no major problems, the production will be replaced."

According to reports, during the period from September to October, hydrogen fluoride of the same purity as Japanese hydrogen fluoride will be produced on a large scale in Korea. Because South Korea's semiconductor materials company SoulBrain will expand its plant next month, once its plant is put into operation, the company will be able to meet all the hydrogen fluoride required by Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. It is reported that SoulBrain has the technical ability to produce ultra-high purity hydrogen fluoride, so its products can be comparable in quality to Japanese hydrogen fluoride.

However, SoulBrain needs to import hydrogen fluoride from American material company Stellar and then purify and purify ultra-high purity products. And SoulBrain will also buy raw materials (anhydrous hydrogen fluoride) from Chinese companies.

It is understood that in addition to SoulBrain, there are some other Korean companies are also stepping up research and development of local materials, SK Materials said that will provide gaseous hydrogen fluoride samples by the end of this year.

Although South Korea has no way to produce EUV photoresist, it is reported that the Korean semiconductor industry can still bring sufficient inventory through other channels. Due to the current low usage rate of this material, inventory is easy to guarantee.

Recently, Japan has approved an individual license from Japan to export EUV photoresist to South Korea. But South Korea seems to have been determined to establish a new semiconductor material supply system.

"By the end of this year, we can completely get rid of the dependence on Japan's hydrogen fluoride," said a senior official in the Korean semiconductor industry. “Although the Japanese government may cancel its regulation to minimize the impact on Japanese companies, Korean semiconductor companies will continue to reduce the percentage of Japanese materials used in production in the future.”

Japan’s Toyo Economic News Agency said that the Japanese government’s regulation has limited impact on the Korean semiconductor industry. What is worrying is that South Korea is building its own hydrogen fluoride production system.

The columnist of the Japan Electronics Times also pointed out that although Korean companies will be under pressure from the Japanese government, Japanese companies will also suffer huge losses. The Japanese government is digging its own grave.

Whether it is Japan-South Korea exchanges or Sino-US trade wars, the importance of supplier diversification can be seen. If South Korea really establishes a new semiconductor material supply system, and Japan's proportion is very small or not in the system, it will shake the status of the Japanese semiconductor industry's upstream overlord.