Japanese corporation Showa Denko (SDK) and South Korean SK Materials Co., Ltd. (SKM) have joined forces in a monofluoromethane (CH3F) gas joint venture (JV) in a bid to meet the growing demands of the semiconductor industry.

The cooperation will see the two companies produce and sell high-quality CH3F which is used in the semiconductor chip manufacturing process for micromachining nitride film by etching, largely for multi-layer structure of 3D NAND flash.

The parties plan to establish the joint company in February 2017 with construction of the new specialty gas production plant located in Yeongju-si, Republic of Korea, aimed to be completed by August next year.

Once established, SDK will own 49% of the new company, dubbed SK Showa Denko Co., Ltd., whilst SKM will claim the slightly larger share of 51%.

SDK has produced and sold high-purity electronic gases for the past 40 years. SKM, which was acquired by SK Group last year, also produces specialty gases.

It is understood that both parties aim to further expand their joint operation to produce and sell high-purity gases to manufacture semiconductor chips and display panels in the market once this JV takes effect.

Demand for CH3F is expected to outpace capacity next year as 3D NAND flash start-ups continue to ramp up in the North Pacific rim.