U.S. based chemical company DuPont will invest 28 million U.S. dollars in South Korea to develop and produce advanced photoresists, a move that is expected to help reduce South Korea's reliance on Japan for the materials.
South Korea's trade ministry said on Thursday that DuPont, which already has two existing factories under its Korean subsidiary in Cheonan, 90 kilometers south of Seoul, will use an advanced technique known as extreme ultraviolet to produce photoresists by 2021.
The president of DuPont Electronics and Imaging Jon Kemp said the company will work closely with Korean firms to test the products.
Japan produces around 90 percent of the world's photoresists, which are used to make semiconductors.
In July, Tokyo imposed export curbs on three key materials including photoresists to South Korea, prompting local tech firms to diversify their supply chains.
In December, Japan reversed the curbs on exports of photoresists, but restrictions on two other materials, fluorinated polyimides and etching gas, which are used to produce displays and chips, remain in place.
Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yun-mo said although Japan has recently eased export controls of photoresists, which is partial progress, it is not a fundamental solution. He added that the government will keep working to diversify its supply chain.
The ministry added that DuPont's investment will also go towards the production of chemical mechanical planarization pads, which are polishing pads used during the semiconductor manufacturing process.
Kim Hyesung, Arirang News.