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On Monday, the presidential office and corporations in South Korea announced that Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix will be permitted to indefinitely provide US chip equipment to their factories in China without separate approval from the US.
It was anticipated that the United States would prolong the exemption granted to South Korean chip manufacturers regarding the requirement of a license to bring American chip equipment into China.
“The uncertainties surrounding the operations and investments of South Korean semiconductor corporations in China have greatly diminished. They will be able to calmly pursue long-term global management strategies,” stated Choi Sang-mok, senior presidential secretary for economic affairs.
Choi added that the United States has already notified Samsung and SK Hynix about the decision, thus confirming its implementation.
The “recognized end-user” list of the US Commerce Department, which specifies the entities eligible to receive exports of technological equipment, is currently being updated to allow Samsung and SK Hynix to expand their factories in China to some extent. This adjustment enables the continued supply of American chip manufacturing equipment.
Once included on the list, individual export cases no longer require permission.
Samsung and SK Hynix, the world’s largest and second-largest producers of memory chips, have invested billions of dollars into their chip production facilities in China, and this development has been widely welcomed.
“Through close coordination with relevant governments, the uncertainties related to the operation of our semiconductor manufacturing lines in China have largely disappeared,” stated Samsung in a press release.
SK Hynix expressed their approval, stating: “We welcome the US government’s decision to extend relaxations regarding export control regulations. We believe that this decision will contribute to the stabilization of the global semiconductor supply chain.”
Samsung Electronics manufactures approximately 40% of its NAND flash chips at its Xian plant, while SK Hynix produces roughly 40% of its DRAM chips in Wuxi and 20% of its NAND flash chips in Dalian.
According to Trendforce data from the end of June, these corporations together control around 70% of the global DRAM market and 50% of the NAND flash market.