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Korea's OLED TV Panel Exports to Japan Surge in May, June
Did Japanese TV Makers Know about Economic Retaliation against Korea?
Korea's OLED TV Panel Exports to Japan Surge in May, June
  • By Kim Eun-jin
  • July 25, 2019, 08:34
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An OLED TV display panel from LG Display

Korea’s exports to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TV panels to Japan more than doubled in June, hitting a record high. Industry experts are speculating that Japanese TV makers tried to secure their desired volume before the start of Japan's restrictions of some export items to Korea.

Korea’s OLED panel exports to Japan reached US$13.2 million in June, up 129.2 percent from the same month of last year, reaching a monthly high, the Institute of Information and Communications Technology Planning and Evaluation (IITP) said on July 24. As a result, despite a 28.9 percent drop in exports of LCD panels to Japan in June, overall panel exports to Japan touched the highest level ever at US$30.2 million. Panel exports to China, Vietnam and Mexico fell 28.0 percent, 10.2 percent and 78.0 percent, respectively, in June.

OLED panel exports to Japan began to surge in May. In that month, Korea's exports to Japan totaled US$12.7 million, surpassing the US$10 million mark for the first time. Some experts speculate that the Japanese government might have given Japanese TV makers some tips about the export restrictions.

High-purity hydrogen fluoride (etching gas), which is one of Japan’s export-regulated products, affects OLED panel production. "LG Display exclusively produces OLED panels for TVs, meaning that Japan's OLED TV companies have little choice but to depend on Korea," an industry official said. "This is one of the reasons why some experts say that Japan’s export restriction can be an unintended suicide goal for the Japanese OLED TV market."

Meanwhile, global exports of display panels in June totaled US$1.59 billion, down 26.6 percent from the same month last year. This is the sharpest decline in three years and two months since they fell 26.7 percent on year in April 2016. By panel, exports of LCD panels dropped sharply by 43.3 percent in June, while exports of OLED panels shrank by 12.5 percent, turning to a drop ​​in two months.