Samsung Display gains licence from US to sell OLED to Huawei

The company is the first among South Korean tech firms to gain a licence from the US government.

Samsung Display has secured a licence from the US Department of Commerce to sell some of its OLED smartphone panels to Huawei, people familiar with the matter told ZDNet.

Last month, the South Korean display panel maker was forced to halt its supply to Huawei due to US sanctions against the Chinese tech giant. The sanctions were an expansion on restrictions made in August, which had banned Huawei from procuring chips made by foreign manufacturers using US technology.

Samsung's display panels were included in the restrictions as they use display driver integrated circuits that are made with US technology.

Samsung Display had applied for a licence to sell its OLED panels to Huawei prior to the sanctions coming into effect.

Despite receiving a licence, not all of Samsung Display's OLED products have been approved, the sources said.

The company is the first among South Korean tech firms to gain a licence from the US government.

Compatriot display panel maker LG Display has also applied for a licence. Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which have halted its memory semiconductors supply to Huawei, are also seeking approvals. These companies, however, are yet to secure approvals.

According to people familiar with the matter, the core function of the sanctions was to prevent Huawei from purchasing memory semiconductors. As there are multiple display panel companies operating around the world, a strict ban on exporting OLED panels was not required to pressure the Chinese company, they said.

Samsung Display declined to comment on the matter.  

Intel was reportedly granted a licence last month by the US government to continue supplying certain products to Huawei.

Huawei has labelled the sanctions as "non-stop aggression" from the US and said it would continue to invest in new technology despite them.

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