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Japan-Korea trade war will create smartphone and memory famine

It was hard to imagine a trade war with more impact on the telecoms industry than that between the USA and China, but then hostilities erupted between Japan and South Korea, both of them pivotal to 5G R&D, electronics and deployment. Long-running tensions over various issues, some dating back to World War II, have apparently escalated in the course of the two countries negotiating a new trade deal. This has led to Japan threatening to halt exports of three chemical compounds (hydrogen fluoride gas, fluorinated polyimide, and EUV photoresists), which are critical to smartphone manufacture, to Korea. Since Japan produces more than 90% of the world’s supply of these chemicals, and Korea produces about one-quarter of the world’s smartphones, the…

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