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Samsung Display wins U.S. approval for panel shipment to Huawei: sources

SEOUL: Samsung Display Co., a major display panel maker in South Korea, has received approval from the U.S. government to supply certain display products to Huawei Technologies Co., sources here said Tuesday, amid Washington’s sanctions against the Chinese tech giant.

Samsung Display recently acquired a license from the U.S. Commerce Department to export some of its smartphone OLED displays to Huawei. Samsung Display is the world’s largest smartphone OLED display supplier.

The U.S. started to impose new export curbs on Huawei from Sept. 15, citing national security reasons. The sanctions ban the supply of components made with U.S. equipment, software and design to Huawei without prior approval from Washington.

The sources said Samsung Display is the first South Korean company to earn such approval from the U.S. after Washington’s restrictions against Huawei went into effect.

Its domestic rival LG Display Co. and chipmakers Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc. have yet to receive export licenses from the U.S. authorities, according to the sources.

Industry insiders said the U.S. may have granted the license to Samsung Display since display panels are less sensitive products compared to semiconductors, as Huawei can secure displays from BOE Technology Group Co. and other Chinese firms.

Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Inc. have reportedly obtained licenses from the U.S. government to supply their computer and server processors.

But since Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor, is struggling to get memory chips from major suppliers, industry insiders said it is doubtful whether Huawei would increase its display procurement.

“With chip supply to Huawei basically halted at this moment, it is impossible for Huawei to make smartphones only with display panels,” an official with a local electronics firm said. “In order for Huawei to have stable production of its products, restrictions on chip exports should be lifted.”

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.