Relationship ends from tech leak dispute
Samsung Electronics has ended its semiconductor distribution rights contract with Mujin Electronics as of the end of June, TheElec has learned.
The South Korean tech giant will be handing over the rights to electronic component distributor SAMT instead. This process will be done in September.
SAMT will receive the distribution rights and related staff from Mujin.
Mujin was founded in 1996 and in that year signed a semiconductor agency contract with Samsung. They have been decades long partners since then.
Mujin had distributed memory chips, system chips and other electronic components made by Samsung throughout the years.
The company also offers cleaners used in wafer fabrication. Mujin’s distribution business is thought to account for around 300 billion won of its sales per year.
Samsung’s cancellation of the distribution rights it has given Mujin stems from the pair’s dispute over an alleged technology leak.
In January, South Korea prosecutors indicted Mujin employees for allegedly leaking SK Hynix’s semiconductor manufacturing technology to a Chinese firm.
During the investigations, prosecutors claimed they also found Mujin employees to have leaked wafer cleaning technology of Semes, the fab equipment subsidiary of Samsung, to the Chinese firm.
Those in Mujin tried to hand over the design of a supercritical cleaner developed by Semes to the company in China, they had said.
The trial for the case is still ongoing.
SAMT has also had a long relationship with Samsung. The company was formed as subsidiary of Samsung C&T in June 1990 to sell chips in South Korea, then being called SamTek. It split off from Samsung C&T in 1995 and renamed itself SAMT in 2005.
It was acquired by Samji Electronics in 2015. The current chairman of SAMT, Sung Jae-saeng, was an VP at Samsung Electronics formerly. CEO Dujin Park is also an ex-Samsung Electro-Mechanics employee.
Samsung had previously given chip distribution rights to four companies: Mujin Electronics, SAMT, Sinsung Semiconductors and Mirai Semiconductors. But this number has now dwindled down to three with Mujin’s rights transferred to SAMT. SAMT is now the biggest distributor among the three.
The company posted 1.24 trillion won in sales last year. Mujin had recorded 355.3 billion won, Sinsung 280.7 billion won and Mirai 218.2 billion won.
A SAMT spokesperson said the deal was not finalized yet and they couldn’t comment further on the matter.