On June 30th Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple's Display Partners Samsung & LG Caught up in Political Ruling with Japan that could Disrupt the Smartphone Sector." The thrust of the report was about Japan restricting fluorinated polyimide which is used in smartphone displays, and resist and high-purity hydrogen fluoride (HF), which is used as an etching gas in the making of semiconductors. Japan produces about 90% of fluorinated polyimide and resist worldwide as well as about 70% of etching gas, making it difficult for chipmakers to find alternative supplies.
The situation is now serious enough that Silicon Valley's elites including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, have dispatched their respective executives and employees to South Korea to gauge the fallout of the ongoing trade war between Seoul and Tokyo, according to industry sources.
The U.S. tech firms are said to be especially worried about the possible impact on Samsung Electronics’ DRAM memory chip production. Samsung is the main supplier of DRAM and NAND flash memory chips for Apple’s iPhones.
An industry source with knowledge of the matter said that "The officials (from the US tech firms) were not here just to review their existing contracts with Samsung, but also to monitor the current market conditions here after Japan recently implemented trade restrictions. They discussed the current situation with Samsung officials."
Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are some of the largest customers of Samsung’s memory chips as they utilize the semiconductors at their data centers that handle a large amount of data for cloud services. DRAM plays a key role in reading and writing such data. Read more