A few days ago we reported on Japan's government decision to restrict some material exports, including fluorinated polyimide, to South Korea, following a diplomatic tension between the two countries.
Polyimide is required for OLED production, and Japan controls about 90% of the world's production. According to a new report from Korea, Samsung and other companies have warned the Korean government that production in some plants could be halted as early as by the end of July if these materials are not available. It is not clear what is the situation of Samsung's (and LG's) OLED production.
In another report from Korea, it is suggested that LG Display will at least be able to go around these sanctions with its Guangzhou OLED TV fab in China - although production is only expected to begin now during the third quarter of 2019 and even so it will harm LGD's plans to increase production capacity in 2019 if its current OLED TV fabs will have to halt production. In addition it is not clear whether these materials are actually used in OLED TV production (or only in flexible OLED production).
The Japanese government decided on these new restrictions following a decision in Korea that Japan's Nippon Steel must compensate Koreans for forced labor during World World Two - while Japan says that this issue was already settled in 1965. Japan removed Korea from the countries it allows free exports to, which means that in order to export to Korea, Japanese materials makers will need to apply for export permission which could delay shipments by 90 days.