Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix have received permission to indefinitely provide U.S. chip equipment to their Chinese facilities without the need for additional approvals from the United States, as confirmed by South Korea’s presidential office and the companies themselves.
It was anticipated that the United States would grant an extension of the waiver previously given to South Korean chip manufacturers, allowing them to bring U.S. chip equipment into China without the need for licenses.
Choi Sang-mok, senior presidential secretary for economic affairs, stated that “concerns regarding the operations and investments of South Korean semiconductor companies in China have significantly diminished. This development will enable them to pursue long-term global management strategies with greater confidence.”
The United States has formally communicated this decision to Samsung and SK Hynix, confirming its immediate effect, according to Choi.
The U.S. Department of Commerce is in the process of revising its “validated end user” list, designating eligible recipients for technology exports. This update will authorize Samsung and SK Hynix to continue providing specific U.S. chip manufacturing equipment to their Chinese facilities, as specified by the presidential office. Once included in this list, there will be no requirement to seek separate export approvals for individual cases.
Samsung and SK Hynix, the largest and second-largest memory chip manufacturers globally, had made substantial investments in their semiconductor manufacturing facilities in China and expressed their appreciation for this development.
Samsung stated, “Thanks to effective collaboration with relevant authorities, we have significantly reduced uncertainties surrounding the operation of our semiconductor production lines in China.”
SK Hynix expressed its satisfaction, saying, “We appreciate the U.S. government’s choice to prolong the waiver concerning export control regulations. We believe this decision will help stabilize the worldwide semiconductor supply chain.”
Samsung Electronics produces approximately 40% of its NAND flash chips at its Xian, China plant, while SK Hynix manufactures around 40% of its DRAM chips in Wuxi and 20% of its NAND flash chips in Dalian.
As of the end of June, these companies collectively held nearly 70% of the global DRAM market and 50% of the NAND flash market, according to data from TrendForce.
Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Edmund Klamann.
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