SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won convened an emergency meeting with CEOs of the group units on Aug. 5 to discuss the potential impact of Japan’s exclusion of South Korea from its trade whitelist on the group’s semiconductor and battery production.
Chey met with the members of the SK SUPEX Council, which is the group’s top decision-making body, and the heads of its 16 major affiliated companies at the emergency meeting held at the SK T Tower, according to SK Group on Aug. 6. It is very rare for Chey to directly preside over the SUPEX Council meeting. This shows how important and urgent it is to assess the impact of Japan’s economic retaliatory measures and come up with countermeasures. Until now, the SK SUPEX Council meeting has been held by professional managers.
During the emergency meeting, Chey said, “Whenever we have faced challenges, we have united and turned them into opportunities, That’s in our DNA. So we can overcome the imminent challenges with that DNA.”
SK Group’s cash-cow chipmaker SK Hynix Inc. and battery maker SK Innovation Co. are feared to be affected by the whitelist exclusion. Market experts expect that the two affiliates will be affected in the short term since it is difficult to find South Korean or global suppliers which can provide products that can replace Japanese materials for now.
Both Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix have high-purity hydrogen fluoride in stock for only two and half months, according to global market research firm DRAMeXchange. Even when they find alternative suppliers, it will take another six months for them to conduct tests.
The CEOs of SK Group’s affiliates analyzed the possible impact on its key businesses, including semiconductors, and sought to draw up countermeasures. They also discussed possible damages when Japan’s export regulations are prolonged. They said, “We should make an effort not only to get through the situation but also to find new business opportunities.”