The main cleaning agent for chip manufacturing delayed the S-strike. Korea

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 The main cleaning agent for chip manufacturing delayed the S-strike.  Korea

It corrected an earlier statement that production had been disrupted, and clarified that the Chinese firm does not supply wafers to Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s chip production operations in China. Also facing problems because of the strike are IPA shipments by a major South Korean petrochemical company from its plant in the port city of Yeosu.

In a statement on Tuesday, it also condemned the transport ministry for being “neither willing to talk nor capable of resolving the current situation”. Transport Minister Won Hee-ryong ruled out acceptance of any demand that sought to use the national economy as a hostage.

“Both drastically increased inventory since Japan’s export curbs on-chip material in 2019 highlighted the issue,” said Ahn Ki-hyun, senior executive director of the Korea Semiconductor Industry Association. Small business owners voiced concern about the havoc a lengthy strike could deal to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as the truckers had launched their action less than two months after social distancing norms were lifted.

“The government will continue to listen to reasonable arguments but strictly respond to illegal actions in accordance with laws and principles,” Won said, according to a ministry statement. Analysts expect the strike’s impact on domestic chipmakers to be limited, however, saying that both Samsung and the world’s second-largest memory chip maker, SK Hynix, usually keep on hand materials sufficient for three months or more.

Story Highlights

  • KITA said a Korean company that produces isopropyl alcohol (IPA), a chemical used in the cleaning of chip wafers, faced difficulties in shipping to a Chinese company that in turn supplies wafers to chipmakers. About 90 tonnes of the material, or a week’s worth of shipments, have been delayed, the trade body said in a statement.

  • Only an “essential amount” is being let through, said a person familiar with the matter, who sought anonymity and declined to identify the company because of the sensitivity of the matter. The truckers’ union, which is protesting against soaring fuel prices and demanding guarantees of minimum pay, vowed to continue the strike after four rounds of talks with the government failed to find a resolution.

“Small business owners are waiting helplessly,” a dozen lobby groups such businesses said in a joint statement, adding that shipments of liquor, food, farm and fisheries products had been blocked. An official of HiteJinro Co Ltd, the biggest brewer of soju, the South Korean liquor, said its shipments were cut about 40% by the strike.