SEOUL, March 26 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean companies that embarked on domestic production of hydrogen fluoride after Japan’s export restriction last year have recorded satisfactory performance.
It is seen as an exemplary case where companies, both large and small, and the government joined hands to turn the crisis into opportunity.
Soulbrain Co., a South Korean producer of hydrogen fluoride, recorded 1 trillion won (US$830 million) in sales for the first time, as well as operating profit of 174 billion won last year.
Ram Technology Co., which teamed up with SK hynix Inc., South Korea’s No. 2 chipmaker, to produce hydrogen fluoride in October of last year, recorded 43 billion won in sales and an operating profit of 4.5 billion won last year.
The company’s operating profit jumped by 111.1 percent from the previous year.
ENF Technology Co., another local producer of hydrogen fluoride, recorded 481 billion won in sales and an operating profit of 59.6 billion won. The company’s operating profit jumped by 67.4 percent from the previous year.
These companies have gained attention for quick domestic production of hydrogen fluoride following Japan’s export restrictions in July of last year.
Hydrogen fluoride, one of the three items included in Japan’s export restrictions, is a chemical substance required to clean the residue off wafers during the manufacturing process of semiconductors.
Japanese companies have led the production of these chemicals that are vital to manufacturers of semiconductors, and many believed that South Korea would struggle to find replacements in the short term.
South Korean companies, however, proved to be responsive. Soulbrain, for instance, built a new plant in Gongju, South Chungcheong Province to produce hydrogen fluoride and supply it to Samsung Electronics and SK hynix.
Ram Technology tested prototypes in October and began delivering hydrogen fluoride to SK hynix. This year, the company increased supply following positive responses from the clients.
Experts saw it as an exemplary case of domestic production, where the decision of large conglomerates to diversify base materials, efforts made by small and medium-sized companies to acquire necessary technologies, and government support through various policies and early authorization for plant operations successfully overcame what could have been one of the country’s worst crises.
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)