In July this year, Japan imposed export controls on three key semiconductor industrial raw materials required by South Korea on the grounds of national security. On August 2, Japan decided to remove South Korea from the “white list” of trade preferences, and the scope of restricted export lists is also expanding. . Suspected of retaliation, the South Korean government decided on August 12 to remove Japan from the "white list" for trade facilitation, which is scheduled to take effect in September.
In South Korea, the sense of crisis brought about by Japan’s export of semiconductor controls to South Korea is spreading, and the power battery industry may also be implicated. According to the "Korean Daily" report, South Korean power battery industry people said that if they continue to rely on Japanese power battery raw materials, South Korea's entire power battery industry is likely to be in trouble with the upgrade of the trade war between the two sides.
In fact, although both Japan and South Korea are major power battery producers, the two companies are closely interdependent in the power battery industry chain. Although South Korea's LG Chem, Samsung SDI, SK Innovation and other companies as international power battery giants have advanced power battery technology, Japanese companies have an advantage in some important basic chemical materials, and Korean battery giants are almost on the raw materials of many batteries. I have to rely on Japan.
Last month, LG Chem's second-quarter earnings report showed that its positive and negative materials for battery production accounted for only 20% of its internal production, while the remaining 80% were purchased from Japan, China and other Korean domestic partners. In addition to the positive and negative materials, the main suppliers of LG chemical electrolytes and separators are also from Japan. For example, the electrolyte is supplied by Mitsubishi Chemical and Ube, and the diaphragm is supplied by Toray and Ube of Japan.
Another power battery in South Korea, Samsung SDI, is mainly supplied by Asahi Kasei. Of course, in order to diversify supply channels, LG Chem, Samsung SDI and other companies will also source battery raw materials from local Korean companies and some Chinese companies.
The current tension between Japan and South Korea has alerted Korean battery companies. LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheo said recently that LG Chem has not been affected by Japanese export controls, but does not rule out the possibility of Japan expanding its list of export control projects. At the same time, he also said that LG Chem is preparing for various possible situations.
It is worth noting that in this round of Japan-South Korea trade war, China's upstream materials companies will benefit. In recent years, with the strong support of the Chinese government for the new energy automobile industry, China has become the world's largest new energy vehicle market. Benefiting from the new energy automobile industry, China has established a relatively mature and mature power battery industry chain, and all links have gradually entered the international power battery giant supply chain.
By combing LG chemical suppliers, we can find that Chinese companies are among the suppliers of cathode materials, anode materials, electrolytes, separators and lithium battery equipment. For example, Dangsheng Technology and Shanshan are domestic suppliers of cathode materials. Betray, Jiangxi Zijing and Shanshan are suppliers of anode materials. Xinzhoubang and Tianci Materials are their electrolyte suppliers. Material, Enjie shares is its diaphragm supplier, Wintech and Pioneer Intelligence provide high-end equipment for power batteries.
In view of the current tension with Japan, in order to ensure future channel stability, a battery company in South Korea revealed that it is considering looking for stable raw material supply from countries outside Japan to meet its rapidly expanding capacity demand and offset future Japanese raw material supply. Instability. For Chinese companies with complete industrial chains and advantages in cost, technology and scale, they will undoubtedly be more competitive.