Tug of war was one of the challenges that the participants in Netflix’s super hit Korean drama Squid Game had to win. Now Samsung finds itself in a tug of war between the United States and South Korea, with obviously less drastic consequences than in the show.
The United States is putting pressure on global chip manufacturers, including Samsung, to disclose their key internal data. It says that the data is required to tackle the global chip shortage. In a rare move, the South Korean government has openly shown unease against the US request for Samsung’s secret data.
South Korea doesn’t want to expose Samsung’s secret data
South Korea and the United States are close allies. They collaborate closely with each other in all matters. It’s because of the depth of their relationship that the two sides don’t normally publicize their concerns with each other.
The US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said during the global semiconductor summit hosted by the White House last month that the administration needs more information about the global chip supply chain to tackle the shortage. They need companies like Samsung to turn over internal data about their chip inventory as well as sales data and the number of orders they have secured.
Disclosing production data such as the yield puts foundry companies like Samsung at a disadvantage against buyers. It reveals the specific level of their semiconductor technology. If Samsung gives this data, it would be in an unfavorable position in price negotiations with global clients.
Samsung hasn’t publicly commented on the matter but the South Korean government and lawmakers have expressed their unease at the request. South Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo said during a bilateral meeting this week with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai that there is a high level of concern in South Korea related to this request for secret data.
“South Korea is deeply concerned that the request for information by the US government is not only broad in scope but also includes some key corporate secrets of our companies,” he said.
The US Trade Representative has said that the South Korean government’s concerns regarding the issue will be discussed by the relevant departments of the US government. The two countries might find a way forward that doesn’t end up with Samsung losing out in this Squid Game.