South Korean President Moon Jae-in yesterday said Japan’s export curbs on key materials used by South Korean technology firms could be prolonged and his government would sharply boost spending to help reduce their reliance on Japanese suppliers.
Japan last week said it would tighten restrictions on exports of three materials used in smartphone displays and chips, citing a dispute with Seoul over South Koreans forced to work for Japanese firms during World War II.
The growing row threatens to disrupt supplies of chips and displays by South Korea’s tech giants Samsung Electronics Co and SK Hynix Inc, which count Apple Inc and other smartphone makers as customers and account for almost two-thirds of global chip production.
“We can’t rule out the possibility that the situation would be prolonged, despite our diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue,” Moon said at a meeting with executives from South Korea’s top 30 conglomerates, including Samsung, Hyundai Motor Co and Lotte Group.
“It is a very regrettable situation, but we have no choice but to prepare for all possibilities,” Moon said, adding that the government would sharply increase spending to help firms source parts, materials and equipment domestically.
A “joint government-private sector response system is required as we are in an unprecedented emergency,” he said.
He also dismissed reported remarks by a politician in Japan that South Korea illegally shipped hydrogen fluoride imported from Japan to North Korea in contravention of international sanctions, calling them “groundless.”
Hydrogen fluoride, a chemical covered by the Japanese export curbs, can be used in chemical weapons.
“It is not desirable at all ... that Japan takes measures that deal a blow to our economy because of political purpose and makes remarks that link the measures to sanctions on North Korea,” Moon said.
South Korea’s bread-and-butter chip industry accounts for 20 percent of its exports.
“We will seek international cooperation as the measures will naturally have an adverse impact on the global economy,” Moon said.
Additional reporting by AFP
Facebook Inc on Wednesday reported its profit doubled in the second quarter as digital advertising surged, but warned of cooler growth in the months ahead in an update that sent its shares sinking. Profit rose to US$10.4 billion on revenue of US$29 billion, a 56 percent increase from last year, mainly from an increase in ad revenue, Facebook said. The number of people using the social network monthly climbed to 2.9 billion, a year-on-year gain of 7 percent, while about 3.5 billion people used at least one of the company’s apps, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. “We had a strong quarter, as we
FURTHER TAX MEASURES NEEDED? Corporate owners accounted for almost 30 percent of empty houses, many of which are held by firms that own 10 or more properties The number of unoccupied houses nationwide totaled 876,000 units last year, or 11.94 percent of all houses, the Ministry of the Interior said in a report issued on Thursday. Almost 30 percent of empty houses were owned by companies, suggesting that many corporate property owners engage in house hoarding, the ministry said. Excluding developers and builders, companies still owned 20 percent of empty houses, it said. The report is based on housing units’ electricity use and considers properties that use less than 60 kilowatt-hours per month as unoccupied. The study contradicts Ministry of Finance reports saying that house hoarding subsided and there is no
HIGH-END MARKET: The company has sufficient growth upsides in its four major business segments to reach revenue of US$20 billion, CEO Rick Tsai told investors MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the world’s biggest supplier of 5G smartphone chips, yesterday raised its revenue growth target for this year to more than 45 percent, after strong demand mainly for its mid-range and premium 5G chips pushed net profit to a record high last quarter. The Hsinchu-based chip designer had three months earlier projected a 40 percent growth from NT$322.16 billion (US$11.48 billion) last year. MediaTek expects next year to be another growth year, with a higher 5G penetration rate and accelerating digital transformation during the post-COVID-19 pandemic era. The company also gained confidence about its gross margin improvement on the expectation
CAUSE INVESTIGATED: The incident occurred early in the morning, when electricity demand was low, and did not result in a power outage or a radiation leak, Taipower said The No. 2 reactor at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) experienced a malfunction that triggered an automatic shutdown early yesterday morning, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said. The exact cause of the incident is still being investigated, but there is no risk of a radiation leak, the state-run utility said. “While we are still investigating the exact cause, the automatic shutdown was safely executed and there is no danger from radiation,” Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷舒) said. The malfunction occurred at 6:33am, triggering an emergency shutdown, taking 985 megawatts of power offline, Chang said. The control