The government is moving to designate organic light emitting diode (OLED) production equipment as a National Core Technology in spite of the opposition of the equipment industry. The government announced that the revision and notification will be made in the first quarter. A controversy surrounding this issue is expected.
The Korea Display Industry Association (KITA), which is affiliated with the Ministry of Industry, announced at the 2019 general meeting held at Sheraton Seoul Palace Gangnam Hotel on the 18th that “The National Core Technology revision and notification will be made within the first quarter.” After consultation with related departments this month, there will be a deliberation by the Industrial Technology Protection Committee in March.
It is the opinion of large panel makers and the government that 'OLED equipment technology' should be added to the list of National Core Technology as industrial technology has been frequently leaked to China recently.
When such a movement by the government was announced last December, the equipment industry strongly rebelled. If OLED equipment is labeled as National Core Technology, every export must be approved by the government. The Ministry of Industry has announced that it is only preventing technology leakage and not preventing export. An equipment industry official said, "If you receive equipment orders from China, you have to make and supply them immediately. If you must wait for the approval of a committee that is held every two or three months, it is inevitable that Japanese competitors will take all of the deals. This is the same as preventing exports.”
Large display panel companies in Korea have different opinions about the National Core Technology designation of OLED equipment. LG Display, which is building a large-sized OLED plant in Guangzhou, China, is opposing the designation, while Samsung Display, which believes that its core equipment technology has been leaked due to TopTek, is agreeing to it.
Lee Dong-Hoon, president of Samsung Display, said, "I cannot agree that there is a disagreement.” when reporters asked him about the disagreements in the industry. “We need to ensure that key technology protection and export to China can be achieved together by extracting enough agreements among the stakeholders," he said.
The Ministry of Industry decided to convert the Display Industrial Technology Security Council into the Industrial Technology Security Task Force (TF), taking into account the resistance by the industry. It is a complementary measure to organize a working committee to coordinate the inter-company opinions on the revision of the National Core Technology. The TF consists of 15 people including officials from the Ministry of Industry, the National Intelligence Service (Industrial Confidentiality Protection Center), and the business industry. It will organize a working committee under the sub-committees to coordinate industry opinions on the revision of the National Core Technology of the display equipment.
Fierce controversy is expected between supporters and opposers of the measure in the following month.