South Korea has been one of the last regions to respond to a request issued by the US Department of Commerce back in September. The DoC said it needs the data on chip sales, inventories and clients to help it understand the prolonged semiconductor supply chain shortage, and issued a deadline of November 8.

The South Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance held a meeting in the afternoon of Sunday November 7 and issued a statement saying the request had been reviewed and that it had coordinated the level and content of information submission with the US and is prepared to provide information voluntarily. “The Korean government plans to further solidify the Korea-US semiconductor supply chain cooperation partnership through high-level communication with the US after the submission deadline on November 8.”

However, Samsung and SK Hynix plan to omit detailed information to protect trade secrets, according to a Reuters report. The reference to high-level communication may indicate South Korean government’s desire to agree that with the US.

As well as asking for sales and inventory data the DoC is asking for strategic information such as plans for capacity increases and the names of each firm’s top three customers for each of its products and the proportions of  that product’s sales each is responsible for, Reuters referenced a ministry source as saying.

“The scope of the US data request is such that if all the information it wants is leaked, it would undermine competition and make it really easy for a client to choose one chipmaker over another,” Reuters quoted the source as saying.

The request applies to all chip manufacturers but as the world’s leading memory chip makers Samsung and SK Hynix have a major impact on supply chain shortages. Samsung and SK Hynix would not release customer-specific because of “geopolitical risks” the report quoted an analyst saying. TSMC is thought to also have responded “in aggregate” to the DoC request for data without releasing company-specific data.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has warned that if companies did not respond adequately to the request on a voluntary basis, then the United States will force companies to surrender the data.

Related links and articles:

TSMC agrees to work with US on chip data, risks angering China

IC industry driving possible China takeover of Taiwan

Report: US, Japan, India, Australia to heap chip pressure on China

Chip shortage by product type shows situation getting worse

Report: Fake chips flood in to exploit supply shortage

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