The United States and China are reportedly engaged in behind-the-scenes negotiations to avert a trade war, and the main bargaining chip is semiconductors. When they strike a deal of having China purchase more American semiconductors over suppliers from South Korea and Japan, the toll could fall heavily on Korea’s chip-making industry, which is responsible for the bulk of Korean exports.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Washington has asked Beijing to import more American cars and semiconductors to address its trade deficit with China. The Financial Times also reported that Beijing is tilting towards agreeing to reduce imports from Korea and Japan and use more American chips to avoid the threatening U.S. tariffs on Chinese products. Regardless of which side proposed it first, it appears that Korean chipmakers are caught in the crossfire of trade friction between the two largest economies. http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3046189&cloc=etc%7Cjad%7Cgooglenews
The world’s largest independent burn-in and test service company KESM does not make chips but has shipped about a billion burn-in and test devices to its customers — semiconductor companies. Although it does not directly export products, KESM is a company to watch as it supports and sells to exporters and works closely with top semiconductor firms. Its aggressive capital expenditure into the automotive burn-in and test business could rake in returns from the growth of autonomous and smarter vehicles.
North American semi equipment industry posts strong December billings
26 January 2018 North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted US$2.39 billion in billings worldwide in December 2017 (three-month average basis), according to SEMI. The billings figure is 16.3% higher than the revised November 2017 level of US$2.05 billion and 27.7% above the December 2016 billings level of US$1.87 billion. https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20180126PR200.html