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Samsung, LG, Other Korean Firms to Invest $49 Bn in Display Biz

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Display, LG Display and other South Korean display companies will make a combined investment of over 65 trillion won ($48.77 billion) by 2027 to secure innovative technologies and reclaim the world’s No 1 position, the industry ministry said. The planned investments aim to expand the country’s global market share to over 50 percent by 2027 from last year’s 37 percent by developing new technologies for next-generation display items and expanding organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display production lines. The country will also push to make 80 percent of materials, parts and equipment needed for the display industry with its own technologies, compared with 65 percent in 2022, and to achieve super-gap technologies to outstrip rival nations by more than five years, reports Yonah news agency. South Korea became the world’s No. 1 player in the display sector in 2004 by outstripping Japan and had maintained the position through 2020. But it was overtaken by China in 2021 amid intensifying competition. China’s market share came to 42.5 percent last year. To help the companies achieve the goals, the government vowed to provide display firms with policy financing of 900 billion won for their fresh investment and equipment manufacturing, and actively consider setting up special zones for the sector to extend infrastructure and other supports. It plans to earmark over 1 trillion won for research and development projects to advance technologies for mass-producing next-generation panels and for developing inorganic LEDs. The government will also push to ease regulations and designate key display-related technologies as the country’s advanced strategic ones so that companies can enjoy additional tax cuts. Over the next 10 years, the country plans to nurture 9,000 experts in the sector by opening new courses at graduate schools and beefing up cooperation with colleges, the ministry said.The country earlier decided to give a tax credit rate of 15 percent on facility investment in strategic industries, including chips and displays, higher than the previous rate of 8 percent.

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Ford Signs Initial Deal To Sell Germany Plant To Investor

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Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) held a work meeting Friday where the Detroit automaker revealed that they have found what was described as a major international investor for Ford’s German plant in Saar louis and signed initial agreements together with the western state of Saarland. “This is an excellent basis for further negotiations, with the potential to create around 2,500 jobs in Saar Louis,” said Martin Sander, head of the company’s German unit Ford Werke. “This week we have taken a big step towards this goal,” he said, adding that the aim was still to transform the plant and create future employment opportunities. According to a late January report by The Wall Street Journal, China’s BYD (OTC: BYDDY) was one of fifteen investors expressing interest in acquiring the Ford site in Saar louis once the production of the Ford Focus, its current model, ceases in 2025. Shares of F are up 0.67% in premarket trading on Friday.

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Dutch Curb Chip Equipment Exports Amid US Pressure

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The Dutch government on Friday announced new rules restricting exports of certain advanced semiconductor equipment, a move that comes amid U.S. pressure on its allies to curb sales of high-tech components to China. “We have taken this step in the interest of our national security,” said Trade Minister Lieske Schreinemacher, adding such equipment may have military applications. Schreinemacher added only a “very limited” number of companies and product models would be affected. China was not named. ASML, a Dutch company that is a key equipment supplier to computer chip makers, said in the reaction it would not change its financial guidance as a result of the new rules. The rules, which will require companies that make advanced chipmaking equipment to seek a licence before they can export it, are expected to go into effect on Sept. 1. A technical document specifying which equipment will require a licence accompanied the announcement. The introduction of the list is the result of a high-level agreement between the U.S. and two allies with strong chip equipment industries – The Netherlands and Japan – to tighten restrictions as Washington seeks to hobble Beijing’s ability to make its own chips. ASML, Europe’s largest technology company, repeated a March statement indicating the top section of models of its second most advanced “DUV” product line, which are used to manufacture computer chips, would need a licence. It named its 2000 series “and subsequent” models and said it did not expect the rules to have a material impact on its financial forecasts. ASML’s most advanced EUV machines have never been shipped to China. ASML’s shares were down 3.6% after the news, while smaller rival ASM International (OTC:ASMIY) dipped 1.8%. The U.S. in October imposed export restrictions on shipments of American chipmaking tools to China from U.S. companies like Lam Research (NASDAQ:LRCX) and Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) on national security grounds, and lobbied other countries with key suppliers to do similar. China decried the move, part of a heightening of tensions between the two countries that has spanned everything from 5G equipment and alleged spy balloons to relations over Taiwan. Reuters reported on Thursday the U.S. may introduce additional rules next month. Schreinemacher said she expected about 20 licence applications on an annual basis, representing a “limited part of the total product portfolio of the companies that fall under this rule”. ASML has been restricted from selling EUV machines without a licence under an international agreement known as the Wassenaar Arrangement, but the Dutch rules now make clear that EUV machines also fall under the Dutch rules.
European Union countries share a common trade policy and generally use the Wassenaar Arrangement to determine which exports are restricted on security grounds. The new Dutch list published may later be adopted by other European countries or added to the EU list, though few other European countries export high-end chipmaking equipment.
German manufacturers supply essential parts to ASML, including lasers made by Trumpf and lenses made by Zeiss, among others.

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SAIC’s MG Motor Brand Launches New Electric Vehicle Leasing Offer In France

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MG Motor, owned by Chinese company SAIC Motor, on Friday, announced a new leasing offer whereby drivers in France can get for 99 euros ($107.6) a month its MG4 electric car, matching a scheme the French government would like to see benefiting cars made in Europe. The offer runs from July 1 through to August 31 and is done in conjunction with MG Motor’s French banking partner Credit Agricole (OTC: CRARY) Consumer Finance. It is based on people getting a “super bonus” incentive of 7,000 euros for low-income buyers and also includes a 2,500 euros public aid paid in exchange for scrapping an old thermal engine car. MG Motor’s offer comes as major car companies from around the world compete in the electric car market, which is forecast to grow rapidly as customers ditch older models given current trends to protect the environment. The brand calls it its own “social leasing” offer, in reference to a scheme the French government is working on to make electric vehicles more affordable. It has been delayed several times because the French authorities fear it would benefit mainly Asian brands. According to a government source, it should be unveiled later this year and implemented in 2024, when the first European-made affordable electric cars will come to the market, such as the Citroen e-C3 from Stellates and the Renault (EPA: RENA) R5. The MG4, imported from China, was ranked as the 5th most sold EV in France in May, according to the French electric mobility association Avere-France.

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