Report: Samsung to acquire Japan’s photoresist through a Belgian firm

We start the final week of August with more news regarding Samsung’s situation amid Japan’s trade restrictions. It seems like new information related to the matter surfaces every few days or so, and a recent report from South Korean media outlets now indicates that Samsung might begin importing photoresist for chipset manufacturing from Belgium.

More specifically, a recent ETNews report citing industry sources suggests that Samsung might decide to rely on a Belgian company to acquire photoresist needed for manufacturing chipsets using EUV processes. The material in question won’t be produced in Belgium; instead, the said Belgian company would only act as a middleman between Japanese suppliers and Samsung. Said company would buy photoresist from Japan and then it would sell it to Samsung for a profit.

Sounds like another temporary solution

If this report comes to pass then the situation will not be ideal for Samsung. First of all, the Japanese government will certainly be aware of this loophole and even though the trade restrictions don’t apply to Belgium, Japan could still take issue with this strategy and might try to prevent Samsung from doing it. Secondly, even if Japan would be fine with a Belgian company acting as the middleman between it and Samsung, this would also result in higher production costs for the Korean company. Then again, having a steady supply of photoresist in exchange for a higher price is better than not having any manufacturing materials at all.

Last week we’ve learned that Samsung managed to secure enough photoresist from Japan to last for roughly six months, on top of the remaining two months’ worth of stock. But there’s no assurance that Samsung and Japan will agree on another batch of photoresist in the future, so the fact that the Korean tech giant is looking for alternative solutions is not all that surprising. However the story will continue to develop, we’re hoping that Samsung won’t be faced with material shortages and/or manufacturing delays anytime soon.


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