The korean government is trying to limit the export of organic light emitting diode (OLED) production equipment to China. It seems to be a follow-up to the recent "Toptec Incident."
According to the industry on December 27th, the Ministry of Industry recently held a meeting with top display equipment companies about designating, changing and releasing core national technologies. It is said that there is a plan to designate OLED equipment as a core national technology at this meeting. Currently, only the design, process and manufacturing technology of the panel is designated and announced as a core national technology. Equipment is classified as module assembly process technology. It is not subject to the application of core national technology regulations.
The industry has expressed concern. If it proceeds according to government regulations, OLED equipment will be tied to the core technology and every time it is exported, it requires government approval. Concerns have been raised, "Doesn’t it actually block exporting?" Some of the people who attended the meeting said, “They are telling us to die,” expressing a dire concern. An industry official said, "The equipment is not ready-made, and customized designs are built according to the customer’s requests," and added, “It is difficult to respond quickly if it is tied to the core technology of the country and must be approved by the government every time it is exported.”
The Ministry of Industry has called for the annual meeting about the designation, change, and cancellation of the core national technology. It was explained that the purpose is not to stop the export of equipment but to prevent technology leakage. An official from the Ministry of Industry said, "I was interested to hear about the industry because I was aware that there was a technology leak due to the export of equipment."
After the comments were finished, the Display Expert Committee was held. However, the equipment industry’s reaction was so severe that it will be held once more. Thereafter, consultation with related departments on the revision of the core national technology and deliberation of the Industrial Technology Protection Committee will be held. In the industry, the government believes that the move is caused by Toptec. Toptec executives were indicted recently for allegedly leaking OLED 3D lamination technology developed jointly with Samsung Display to China. 3D lamination equipment is a key technology used in the production of edge type OLED panels.
An industry official said, "It’s not as if we cannot understand the government’s situation, but some companies with a high proportion of Chinese equipment exports will be inevitably hit, so there will be a controversy."