Samsung Display is in talks with SKC over the supply of colorless polyimide (CPI) used for foldable smartphones. This represents the first time that Korean corporations collaborate to substitute local products for items that are under the Japanese government’s export control.
CPI is a key component of organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels for next-generation foldable phones. CPI film replaces smartphone cover glass. It is essential to developing foldable smartphones. Samsung Display has been sourcing CPI for the Galaxy Fold from Japan's Sumitomo Chemical.
However, Samsung Display reportedly contacted SKC to ask if it can supply CPI as the Japanese government’s export regulations that started on July 4 could disrupt its material procurement.
“We have opened everything about CPI mass production to Samsung Display,” an SKC official said. "We are not yet in a product test stage, but we expect Samsung to reach a deal with SKC as Japan's regulations could be further strengthened.”
Samsung Display is on alert over CPI procurement. Industry experts say Samsung Display has two- to three-month CPI inventory. However, as Japan’s export restrictions are highly likely to be extended, there is the possibility of Samsung’s foldable phone production being disrupted by an unstable CPI supply.
Therefore, Samsung Display is trying to secure an alternative supply source through SKC, which is scheduled to start volume production of CPI in October.