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Korea urged to confront US calls for key chip info

tonyget

Member

The government is facing growing calls to stand up to the U.S.'s "undue" demand for Korean semiconductor manufacturers to reveal key business information, so as to protect local companies involved in the sector.

Industry sources and experts claim that giving up such data could undermine local players' bargaining power and end up hurting their competitiveness in the global market.

The calls come after the U.S. Commerce Department's moves to possibly use the Defense Production Act (DPA) as a means to deal with the yearslong shortage of automotive chips in the United States.

If Washington actually initiates a DPA protocol, then all semiconductor firms which have operations in the U.S. are mandated to submit specific information regarding their supply chains.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the DPA could be invoked to compel semiconductor companies to provide information if this wasn't done voluntarily, implying the chip firms are in fact being coerced.

The demand is widely seen as an excessive form of intervention in the market, which should be left to deal with shortages according to principles, something the U.S. has so far championed.

For major semiconductor companies such as Samsung, opening up confidential information would expose it to vulnerabilities.

Samsung is the world's top memory chipmaker and only trails Taiwan's TSMC in the booming foundry (contract-based chip manufacturing) market. The U.S. commerce department is seeking to secure information from not only the chipmakers that attended several recent White House meetings, but all players in the industry, which would force Korea's SK hynix, the world's second-largest memory chip manufacturer, to share such data as well.

The recent White House meeting ― the third ― was presided over by Raimondo and participated in by representatives from Intel, Samsung, TSMC and GM. The meeting was intended on coming up with measures to alleviate the auto chip shortage U.S. carmakers are suffering from. But the specific data requested from chipmakers is regarded as highly sensitive information that companies do not voluntarily disclose.

Experts and analysts say the demand from the White House is seen in a larger context as a means to quantify the global supply chain for semiconductors, and allow the U.S. to regain its lead in the sector, which it has lost to major players in Asia, such as Korea and Taiwan over the past decades.

Washington has also sought to bring production facilities of major companies, not only in the semiconductor industry but also in the electric vehicle battery sector, to the U.S. as a way of securing a stable supply of these items, which it now considers as a national security concern.

"The government should not stay idle, given the chip sector is a matter of competitiveness on a national level," one source said.

Another industry source also highlighted that because of the confidential nature of supply chain-related information, revealing this will affect a company's negotiating power.

"This has provided relevant business sectors a lot to think about," another industry source said. "Giving up such information can undermine bargaining power, as it could be exposed to clients, competitors and partners." Given the uncertainties of how the U.S. government will proceed with the "voluntary" request, Cheong Wa Dae may need to speak out if necessary.

On a related note, one section of a survey of companies on the U.S. Federal Register, the daily journal of the American government, asks: "For the semiconductor products that your organization sells, identify those with the largest order backlog. Then for the total and for each product, identify the product attributes, sales in the past month, and location of fabrication and package/assembly."

Another part requires a list of "each product's top three current customers and the estimated percentage of that product's sales accounted for by each customer."
 

Andy1299

Member
Such a key data set. Even if US only has the best of intentions. The risk of leaks (politically motivated or not) or even of it being stolen by government espionage seem extreme
 

VCT

Member
No big deal actually.
17c366ff9a0d0ad3fe77431d.png!800.jpg
 

Andy1299

Member
No big deal actually.
17c366ff9a0d0ad3fe77431d.png!800.jpg
I disagree, section 1 has a lot of sales info. Almost a blueprint for a semicon industry. 2.c, is the only question actually aimed at discovering double ordering and is poorly written.

As an aside, after spending many years in a job involving customer research it’s also horribly written. They lack so little knowledge they couldn’t even provide tables with standard products and components. It will be a nightmare to analyze findings…
 

herbs88

New member
I disagree, section 1 has a lot of sales info. Almost a blueprint for a semicon industry.
I am pretty sure an undergrad can fill most of that out with the monthly/quarterly reports available on TSMC’s website…
I am actually more concerned that the Department of Commerce asked companies to specify their nodes “in nanometers”… they still had no clue what’s going on after one year of “chip shortage”…
 

hist78

Active member
No big deal actually.
17c366ff9a0d0ad3fe77431d.png!800.jpg
Even with the best intention, I think this questionnaire will lead Department of Commerce to get piles of data that are hard to be understood, cross-referenced, or analyzed.

Basically they tried to collect and analyze the data from the whole semiconductor eco system. From which thousands upon thousands of semiconductor products, thousands of manufacturing and distribution stages, and thousands of manufacturing technologies and materials are involved.

How do they come out this questionnaire is really strange to me. The person(s) might not have sufficient understanding of the semiconductor industry and its eco system at all.

Some of those questions are silly. It makes me wonder if a MBA intern or an inexperienced "consultant" created this questionnaire.

One thing for sure, they should have hired Daniel Nenni to help them to draft it.
 

hist78

Active member
This is my understanding that foundry, such as TSMC and Globalfundries, will not sign a contract/wafer agreement when there is no available capacity to allow them to do so. And the agreement is not a blank order that customers can order whatever quantity for whatever they want.

That means in most cases, except for unforeseen disasters such as fire, flooding, or power grid crash, foundries and their customers technically should not have such thing called "backorder".
 

Andy1299

Member
Even with the best intention, I think this questionnaire will lead Department of Commerce to get piles of data that are hard to be understood, cross-referenced, or analyzed.

Basically they tried to collect and analyze the data from the whole semiconductor eco system. From which thousands upon thousands of semiconductor products, thousands of manufacturing and distribution stages, and thousands of manufacturing technologies and materials are involved.

How do they come out this questionnaire is really strange to me. The person(s) might not have sufficient understanding of the semiconductor industry and its eco system at all.

Some of those questions are silly. It makes me wonder if a MBA intern or an inexperienced "consultant" created this questionnaire.

One thing for sure, they should have hired Daniel Nenni to help them to draft this is dumb. N
No big deal actually.
17c366ff9a0d0ad3fe77431d.png!800.jpg
Even with the best intention, I think this questionnaire will lead Department of Commerce to get piles of data that are hard to be understood, cross-referenced, or analyzed.

Basically they tried to collect and analyze the data from the whole semiconductor eco system. From which thousands upon thousands of semiconductor products, thousands of manufacturing and distribution stages, and thousands of manufacturing technologies and materials are involved.

How do they come out this questionnaire is really strange to me. The person(s) might not have sufficient understanding of the semiconductor industry and its eco system at all.

Some of those questions are silly. It makes me wonder if a MBA intern or an inexperienced "consultant" created this questionnaire.

One thing for sure, they should have hired Daniel Nenni to help them to draft it.
This is too dumb for a consultant/ MBA. Any one with any experience would know that quantitative data collection requires standard buckets (otherwise how do you build any cross customer analysis). This has lawyer written all over it - even the formatting is lawyerish - worse case it’s an English lit grad
 

Andy1299

Member
This is too dumb for a consultant/ MBA. Any one with any experience would know that quantitative data collection requires standard buckets (otherwise how do you build any cross customer analysis). This has lawyer written all over it - even the formatting is lawyerish - worse case it’s an English lit grad
Not saying lawyers are dumb btw (my father is one) - just law is the art of applying logic whilst limiting yourself to the written word Ie without math
 

hist78

Active member
This is too dumb for a consultant/ MBA. Any one with any experience would know that quantitative data collection requires standard buckets (otherwise how do you build any cross customer analysis). This has lawyer written all over it - even the formatting is lawyerish - worse case it’s an English lit grad
Based on your observation, I think those semiconductor companies' inhouse and external lawyers are working hard right now to fill out the questionnaire.

Their works will be based on several principles:

1. Ambiguous, as much as possible
2. Hard to understand. The harder, the better
3. Double talk
4. Use as many empty words as possible
5. Legally sound.
6. Practically meaningless.
6. No one can accuse their companies lying or cheating.
 
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Andy1299

Member
Lol, literally

I always had an inside joke whenever I dealt with in house lawyers: their happy steady state is when the company conducts no business, has no customers and does not talk to anyone.
 

hist78

Active member
No big deal actually.
17c366ff9a0d0ad3fe77431d.png!800.jpg

Thank you for the information. Below is the link to the original document "Notice of Request for Public Comments on Risks in the Semiconductor Supply Chain" issued by BIS (Bureau of Industry and Security) of Commerce Department.


This survey related PDF and Excel files can be downloaded from:

According to the first tab of the Excel, completing this survey only takes about four hours averagely. The Commerce Department really respects Semiconductor Industry's amazing speed.

"Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 4 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information to BIS Information Collection Officer, Room 6883, Bureau of Industry and Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C. 20230, and to the Office of Management and Budget, Paperwork Reduction Project (OMB Control No. 0694-0143), Washington, D.C. 20503. "
 

Arthur Hanson

Well-known member
This whole exercise just shows how the quality of our government is dropping like a rock. It's tragic to see special interests and gross incompetence become the rule. Jobs for life regardless of performance or outcome guarantee incompetence and mediocrity. This is now true throughout our government including legislatures, military, police. Our forefathers believed you served your country for a time and then went back to your business. Most were successful businessmen, now they are professional or should I say, unprofessional politicians. The government could learn much from the tech sector, but sadly I don't see it happening.
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