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Chip Retailers abuse Japan's export curbs

By Jun Ji-hye

Some online retailers here are attempting to take advantage of Japan's export regulations imposed on the semiconductor sector, abruptly raising the prices of DRAM chips for PCs.

This is inconveniencing to consumers who want to buy DRAM chips to assemble or upgrade their PCs.

This captured image shows Samsung Electronics 16-gigabit DDR4 PC4-19200 DRAM is sold for over 100,000 won, Thursday. The price increased from 65,000 won early last week, with retailers citing short supply resulting from Japan's export regulations.
Retailers cited short supply of the product as a reason for increasing prices, claiming the supply issues were a result of Tokyo's export control. But semiconductor makers said the retailers' argument is completely untrue.

"There has been no shortage of DRAM chips even after Japan strengthened export regulations," a semiconductor company official said, asking not to be named. "Retailers seem to use tricks to raise prices of the chips."

On July 1, the Japanese government placed regulations on exports of three high-tech materials used in the semiconductor and display sectors ― fluorinated polyimide, photoresist and hydrogen fluoride (etching gas) ― to Korea amid a worsening diplomatic row between the two nations.

Since then, some online retailers have raised the prices of DRAM chips manufactured by Samsung Electronics and SK hynix.

For example, the price of Samsung Electronics' 16-gigabit DDR4 PC4-19200 DRAM was about 65,000 won ($55) early last week, but is now 100,000 won.

Retailers posted notices on their respective online shopping malls, saying they are experiencing difficulties in distribution of DRAM chips as they are being affected by Japan's export curbs. But they are facing criticism from consumers who are aware of the situation.

"I purchased the product on July 5 at a higher price because I thought I had to buy it before the price increased further," a consumer wrote on one online shopping mall. "But I canceled my order immediately after I learned that Japan's export regulations have exerted no impact on DRAM manufacturing. Retailers are using petty tricks."

Another consumer said he decided to purchase the product directly via the overseas website as he did not want to be swayed by the tricks of retailers here.

Officials said semiconductor companies have goods in stock, thus Japan's export control will not immediately lead to a supply decrease.

Another official noted international prices of DRAMs have been consistently decreasing amid a reduced demand.

"There is no need for us to reduce the amount of supply as we need to sell DRAMs fast," he said.

According to chip price tracker DRAMeXchange, DRAM prices will decline 10 percent to 15 percent during the third quarter of the year.


By Jun Ji-hye

Some online retailers here are attempting to take advantage of Japan's export regulations imposed on the semiconductor sector, abruptly raising the prices of DRAM chips for PCs.

This is inconveniencing to consumers who want to buy DRAM chips to assemble or upgrade their PCs.

This captured image shows Samsung Electronics 16-gigabit DDR4 PC4-19200 DRAM is sold for over 100,000 won, Thursday. The price increased from 65,000 won early last week, with retailers citing short supply resulting from Japan's export regulations.
Retailers cited short supply of the product as a reason for increasing prices, claiming the supply issues were a result of Tokyo's export control. But semiconductor makers said the retailers' argument is completely untrue.

"There has been no shortage of DRAM chips even after Japan strengthened export regulations," a semiconductor company official said, asking not to be named. "Retailers seem to use tricks to raise prices of the chips."

On July 1, the Japanese government placed regulations on exports of three high-tech materials used in the semiconductor and display sectors ― fluorinated polyimide, photoresist and hydrogen fluoride (etching gas) ― to Korea amid a worsening diplomatic row between the two nations.

Since then, some online retailers have raised the prices of DRAM chips manufactured by Samsung Electronics and SK hynix.

For example, the price of Samsung Electronics' 16-gigabit DDR4 PC4-19200 DRAM was about 65,000 won ($55) early last week, but is now 100,000 won.

Retailers posted notices on their respective online shopping malls, saying they are experiencing difficulties in distribution of DRAM chips as they are being affected by Japan's export curbs. But they are facing criticism from consumers who are aware of the situation.

"I purchased the product on July 5 at a higher price because I thought I had to buy it before the price increased further," a consumer wrote on one online shopping mall. "But I canceled my order immediately after I learned that Japan's export regulations have exerted no impact on DRAM manufacturing. Retailers are using petty tricks."

Another consumer said he decided to purchase the product directly via the overseas website as he did not want to be swayed by the tricks of retailers here.

Officials said semiconductor companies have goods in stock, thus Japan's export control will not immediately lead to a supply decrease.

Another official noted international prices of DRAMs have been consistently decreasing amid a reduced demand.

"There is no need for us to reduce the amount of supply as we need to sell DRAMs fast," he said.

According to chip price tracker DRAMeXchange, DRAM prices will decline 10 percent to 15 percent during the third quarter of the year.


Jun Ji-hye jjh@koreatimes.co.kr


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