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S. Korean companies seeking countermeasures against Japan's export restrictions Updated: 2019-08-07 10:06:50 KST

To cope with a series of recent export restrictions by Japan,many high-tech firms are seeking substitutes or alternative suppliers both inside and outside the country.
Industry sources say securing foreign suppliers through mergers and acquisitions could be one option.
Other companies are making materials on their own, but industries say it is expensive and requires a lot of time to produce them domestically.
Local governments have also opened consultation channels to support firms that are likely to be affected by the export curbs.

"Some materials can be replaced by Japanese companies that have production lines overseas. As for general equipment and components, some can be replaced by other companies from Europe, the U.S. and China."

Concerns are rising over the semiconductor industry. Semiconductors make up about a quarter of the country's total exports,and Japan has mainly targeted three high tech materials used for making chips photoresist, hydrogen fluoride and fluorinated polyimide.
Industry sources say it's relatively easy to find substitutes for fluorinated polyimide, but chipmakers might run out of high-purity hydrogen fluoride in about two and a half months.

Major chipmakers such as Samsung Electronics and SK hynix are operating an emergency management system. Samsung's vice chairman, Lee Jay-yong and SK's chairman Chey Tae-won earlier held an emergency meeting with their boards of directors to prepare countermeasures.
Lee has also begun to check the situation in its manufacturing plants across the country.

In the meantime, Chinese and Taiwanese industries seem to be trying to take advantage of the situation.
Samsung Display has been supplying most of Apple's iPhone OLED panels, but according to Korean media, the U.S. tech giant may look for additional Chinese suppliers other than Samsung if the company can't mass-produce displays as it did before.
Chinese and Taiwanese DRAM companies are also expanding their business.

Korean companies are hoping for the situation to improve through efforts to solve it diplomatically, but attempts to reduce Korean firms' dependency on Japan seem inevitable if the trade conflict drags on.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.
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