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US to ‘Indefinitely Extend’ China Chip Waivers For South Korea

The extension would mark an end to business uncertainty for South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix who have invested billions in their chip fabs in China

A view shows Samsung Electronics' chip production plant at Pyeongtaek, South Korea
Staff walk through Samsung Electronics' chip production plant in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. Photo: Samsung Electronics handout via Reuters.


Top South Korean chipmakers are set to receive an indefinite extension of their permissions to import American chipmaking technology to their fabs in China, Yonhap news agency reported, citing multiple sources, on Wednesday.

The extension would mark an end to business uncertainty for South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, who have multiple chipmaking facilities in China, and plans to expand their operations in the country.

Yonhap said Washington officials are likely to announce the extension as early as this week. However, that could get delayed if the US government were to shut down due to Senate divisions over funding.


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Samsung and SK require licences to bring US chip equipment into China, due to the Biden Administration’s sweeping export control measures imposed last year.

But a year-long waiver from those export controls allowed both chipmakers to continue importing American chip equipment to China.

Under an indefinite waiver, the US Department of Commerce will add the two chipmakers to its “validated end user” (VEU) list, which denotes what entities can receive exports of various US technology. Once included on the list, the chipmakers would not require fresh permissions for separate export cases.

It would, thus, make way for Samsung and SK Hynix to keep receiving certain US chipmaking tools.

The US Commerce Department has discussed details with the South Korean chipmakers on which equipment they can use in China, Yonhap said.

Their discussions took into account Samsung and SK’s future plans, as equipment upgrades will also be required to maintain their business for the next few years, the report added.

Both companies have invested billions of dollars in their chip fabs in China. Samsung operates a NAND flash memory production facility in Xian city, while SK Hynix produces DRAM chips in Wuxi and NAND chips in Dalian.

Together, the two chipmakers control nearly 70% of global DRAM and 50% of NAND flash markets as of end-June, data from TrendForce showed.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena


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Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at [email protected]


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