UPDATED. 2024-07-12 07:53 (금)
South Korea’s blank mask export jumps in May
South Korea’s blank mask export jumps in May
  • Noh Tae Min 기자
  • 승인 2024.06.25 16:01
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From demand from fabless, foundry companies in China
Image: Samsung
Image: Samsung

South Korea’s export of blank masks used in chip production has jumped 46% in May from a year ago, according to government data.

Exports hit US$2.56 million in May, with China accounting for US$1.93 million and accounting for 75.3% of the total, according to data from the Korea Trade Statistics Promotion Institute.

Blank masks are used to make the photomasks used to draw the circuit patterns on wafers during the lithography process. They are similar to films in film cameras.

Photomasks are attached to lithography machines and light shot from that on to the wafer is the circuit pattern.

The increased export of blank mask stems from the rising number of chip companies, from fabless to foundries, in China.

Chinese foundries such as SMIC, Nextchip and others are maintaining a high operation rate, unlike their South Korean counterparts, due to high demand, sources said.

Chinese foundries use mostly legacy nodes and South Korean blank masks are widely used for these, they said.

There was a shortage of photomasks that started last year which is ongoing, according to a Shinhan Investment Securities report. 

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