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 story was about Japan restricting fluorinated polyimide, which used in smartphone displays and resists and high-purity hydrogen fluoride (HF), which used as an etching gas in the making of semiconductors. Japan produces about 90% of fluorinated polyimide and resists worldwide as well as about 70% of etching gas, making it difficult for chipmakers to find alternative supplies.
The situation is now tricky 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 US tech firms are said to be especially worried about the possible impact on Samsung Electronics' DRAM memory chip production. Samsung is the leading 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 to review their existing contracts with Samsung but also to monitor the current market conditions hereafter 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 crucial role in reading and writing such data.