It is shown that the amount of export of semiconductor equipment by South Korean semiconductor equipment makers in the past first half almost doubled the amount in the first half last year as top South Korean semiconductor manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics have started to expand their plants in China. It is also noticeable that South Korean semiconductor equipment makers have gradually increased their supplies every year by localizing advanced technologies.
According to Korea Customs Service, the amount of export in this first half was $884 million which is an 98% increase compared to the first half last year when the amount was $445 million.
The amount of export has been going up every year for the past couple years. The amount of export in this first half is 57% more than the amount of export for the entire year of 2018 when the amount was $560 million.
The biggest factor for the increase is an extension of Samsung Electronics’ plants in China. Since the end of last year, Samsung Electronics has been constructing production lines at its second plant in Xian which is its only memory manufacturing base located outside of South Korea. Leading semiconductor equipment makers in South Korea such as SEMES and WONIK IPS supplied their deposition and etching equipment to Samsung Electronics’ plant in Xian. It is heard that they were able to drastically increase the amount of supplies of their products by localizing advanced technologies for the deposition and etching fields.
The amount of export in this past first half also includes a new supply of equipment that was supplied to SK Hynix System IC’s fab in Wuxi and equipment that was supplied to SK Hynix for its C2F plant.
There are also companies that have actively targeted foreign semiconductor companies. Hanmi Semiconductor, which had been bringing half of its sales from overseas such as China already, had benefited greatly in the first half by targeting Chinese companies such as JCET and GTBF that focus on back-end process. It is expected that South Korean equipment makers will continue to export their products to China in the second half as Samsung Electronics invests in a NAND plant in Xian and SK Hynix extends its C2F fab.
However, there are not many cases of South Korean semiconductor equipment makers supplying their products to emerging Chinese chip makers.
“Only few demo equipment was supplied to prominent Chinese chip makers due to a potential patent issue and relationships with South Korean customers.” said a representative for the industry.
However, there is a chance that there will be more supply contracts between South Korean semiconductor equipment makers and Chinese semiconductor makers in a long term.
Some within the industry predict that the range of customers of South Korean semiconductor equipment makers will begin to expand as there were cases of meetings between Chinese IT companies and South Korean semiconductor equipment makers due to external political conflicts such as the trade war between China and the U.S.
Staff Reporter Kang, Hyeryung | firstname.lastname@example.org