This was already reported earlier, but now, confirmation has come in on a dispute between Japan and South Korea directly impacting smartphone production at Samsung’s unit. The Japanese government had issued a policy directive where the export of fluorinated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and resists to South Korea. These chemicals are manufactured mainly by Japanese major Sumitomo Corporation and are essential ingredients for the manufacture of chipsets for mobile phones. Samsung is expected to fit its Exynos 9820 SoC processors on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10. This will mean the company cannot meet the production targets of this prestigious model.
An Action in Retaliation by the Japanese Government
The situation has to be understood from the perspective of how this new policy change came about. There was a judgement handed out by a South Korean court against the Japanese government. That judgement has nothing to do with the supply of chemicals to South Korea. This is, therefore, an action in retaliation than anything else.
The Japanese government has also played it quite diplomatically. There is no clear ban on the export of these chemicals. The only fiat is that the chemicals if they are being exported to South Korea then the exporting entity has to obtain approval from the Japanese government. This approval will take at least 90 days. This is an apparent way of causing delays.
Delays Cannot be Helped
As long as the South Korean companies rely on fluorinated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and resist from Japanese sources, they will have to settle for delays. The delay in manufacturing the components like OLED panels and chipsets will invariably result in the delay in the production of finished devices like smartphones. This also means companies like Apple which order their OLED panels on Samsung will have to take such delays in production. There is already the information that there has been a 10% cut in production of the Exynos processors in July. The company claims it will recover the lost production next month.
How much of this delay or reduction in processor production will impact the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is still to be assessed. The Galaxy Unpacked event scheduled for August 7 and there seems to be no change to that. The only uncertainty now is the date the phones will start shipping. Currently, August 23 is the date meant to start the shipments. Will there be a delay?