Japan’s current implementation of export restrictions on key semiconductor raw materials to South Korea has really broken the hearts of people from all walks of life in South Korea. Not only President Moon Jae-in of South Korea has repeatedly spoken to Japan and urged the lifting of the ban on South Korea, otherwise further measures will be taken to deal with it. Even the once-fascinating South Korean semiconductor giant Samsung "Prince" Lee Jae-yong also went to Japan and told Stella, JSR and other Japanese semiconductor raw materials companies have proposed that they hope to provide sources of goods through overseas factories, and meet with Japanese financial veterans and powerful business people to help mediate.
Japan’s Minister of Industry Hiroshige Seko (picture source: REUTERS)
However, the Japanese side did not buy into the efforts of the South Korean side. According to Reuters, Japan’s Minister of Industry Hiroshige Seko stated today , Japan "does not consider" lifting restrictions on Japan’s exports of high-tech products to South Korea, saying that the restrictions did not violate World Trade Organization regulations; on the other hand, according to Digitimes today’s report, the Japanese governmentIt is rumored that the export of 3 products to South Korea will be restricted, which may include machine tools (large equipment such as machine tools) and carbon fiber. The industry is concerned that if the restrictions on Japanese products exported to South Korea continue to escalate, it may endanger South Korea’s industrial manufacturing, semiconductor, and automotive industries, and then have a certain impact on the global supply and demand structure.
In addition to materials: South Korea is also heavily dependent on Japanese equipment
The restriction on South Korea’s key semiconductor materials is actually only the first card played by Japan. Next, if South Korea’s subsequent performance does not meet the needs of Japan, Japan may take further measures to suppress South Korea’s key industries. After all, whether it is in the field of semiconductor equipment or industrial manufacturing equipment, South Korea today is heavily dependent on Japan and it is impossible to get out.
From the perspective of semiconductor production equipment, although Japan is now defeated by South Korea in some industries, it uses coreMechanical technology strangled South Korea’s throat. It is reported that today’s Japanese companies account for 37% of the overall global semiconductor equipment market share, including electron beam drawing equipment (93%), coating/developing equipment (98%), cleaning equipment (70%), and oxidation furnace ( 83%), important front-end equipment such as reduced pressure CVD equipment (79%), as well as important back-end packaging equipment represented by dicing machines (97%) and important test equipment links represented by probers (94%) , Japan is in a monopoly position (data source: New Era Securities Research Institute).
In general, in the front end Among the 15 types of key equipment, Japanese companies have an average market share of 38%; among the 9 types of back-end key equipment, Japanese companies have an average share of 41%. As far as semiconductor equipment is concerned, Korean semiconductor companies currently use nearly one-third of the equipment All of them are produced in Japan. For example, for the current mainstream OLED display panel products, Nikon and Canon control the entire market share of the vapor deposition equipment used, and an OLED vapor deposition machine is almost 120 million US dollars.In the manufacturing field of key parts, for example, robot lathes for manufacturing smart phone aluminum bodies are mostly purchased from FANUC; moreover, various equipment and optics required for the production of high-density parts and chemical products In measuring equipment, the market share of Japanese products also exceeds 40% to 50%.
Will the Korean industry’s efforts to "roundtrip tactics" work?
In order to prevent Japan from taking further measures to attack the Korean industry, the Korean industry is working hard Mediating while detouring may be the most tentative method at the moment. However, Japan has made it clear today that it will not relax restrictions on South Korea and is more likely to intensify it; moreover, the Japanese business community has also reacted negatively to Lee's proposal. Faced with such a scenario, the only Korean companies headed by Samsung can only adopt roundabout tactics, but how feasible is it?
As we all know, although Stella, a key semiconductor material manufacturer in the previous round of export restrictions, has factories in Taiwan and Singapore ,And JSR also produces high-purity hydrogen fluoride in Belgium. Legally speaking, it is possible that Japanese companies can continue to cooperate with Korean companies through overseas factories, but after the introduction of restrictions on South Korea, Japan will undoubtedly impose further long-arm jurisdiction over such behaviors, and ultimately various transactions between Korean and Japanese companies It is still difficult to bypass Japanese censorship. Therefore, this approach still has a greater risk.
Of course, there are also rumors that Korean companies are also seeking alternative channels other than Japanese suppliers, but the editor believes that this may only be feasible in some aspects, such as some Monopoly machinery/high-precision equipment and carbon fiber that may be included in the restricted list. However, in terms of key semiconductor materials in the first round of restrictions, South Korea needs to pay a considerable price to bypass Japan and purchase from buyers from other countries. After all, Japan accounts for 90% of the global production of fluoropolyimide, with high purity. Hydrogen fluoride gas accounts for 70% of global productionYes, most of the raw materials in the hands of businesses in other countries can only rely on Japanese imports. Even as the Korean chip manufacturer said, "These materials are not things that we can find in another store and buy quickly. Even if we can find Japanese substitutes, we must conduct tests to ensure that the quality is sufficient to keep the chips high. Production capacity."
Faced with Japanese technological suppression, the Korean industry is now facing a dilemma. If the Japanese With further pressure, it is possible that in the future, South Korea’s industrial development in many areas will slow down and the losses will be huge, which will also have a certain impact on the global market. But for South Korea, this is also a "wake-up dream", making South Korean companies once again aware of the necessity of developing an independent domestic industrial chain and seeking alternative solutions. In the short term, South Korea’s semiconductor industry and manufacturingIt is impossible to break away from the shackles of the Japanese side. Although the "roundabout tactics" can relieve the pressure of South Korean companies to a certain extent, after all, it is still far from the needs of South Korean companies.