The Israel-Hasmas war has increased concerns in the South Korean semiconductor industry for the procurement of hydrogen bromide used in chip production.
This is because the domestic market is 99.6% reliant on imports of bromine (Br) from Israel, according to data from the Korea International Trade Association as of January to August this year.
Israel was responsible for 46.2%, or 180,000 tonnes, of Br produced last year, KITA also said. The US and China also make the chemical.
Hydrogen bromide is used in the etching process during chip production.
To make the compound chemical, companies need to have high-purity processing technologies.
In South Korea, Hansol Chemical’s subsidiary Sole Materials and SK Showa Denko produce the chemical. More of them are used in high-end chip production.
According to sources TheElec spoke to, these companies and those in Japan currently had enough raw material in their inventory to continue to produce hydrogen bromide.
They were also diversifying their supply line to make sure there was no problem in production.
Last year, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the prices of Ne, Kr, and Xe skyrocketed, putting pressure on costs for chip makers. At one time the price of Ne increased by 22 fold.
These and other experiences have caused the industry to prepare, the sources said.