Graphene has long been touted as a wonder material, capable of enabling countless next-generation technologies. The market is beginning to mature, and successful application areas are starting to emerge. These applications range from energy storage to thermal management and composites. High-value opportunities exist for consumer electronics, many of which are produced by South Korean companies. In this article, IDTechEx assesses the current and future outlook for graphene in the South Korean market.
IDTechEx has more than a decade of experience assessing the graphene market, providing a detailed independent analysis of the technological and commercial progress of graphene and other 2D materials. A report, "Graphene Market & 2D Materials Assessment 2024-2034: Technologies, Markets, Players", has recently been released which includes granular 10-year graphene market forecasts, is based on profiles of 80+ key players, and leverages extensive in-depth coverage of many end-use markets for graphene.
South Korea has traditionally been seen as a leading global technology hub, home to multinational giants such as Samsung and LG. These companies produce a variety of electronic goods, such as smartphones, screens, cameras, and batteries. Naturally, this is a fast-paced industry with a focus on innovation in terms of materials, applications, and manufacturing techniques. As such, emerging materials, such as graphene, are the subject of extensive research by these leading multinationals. The graphic below shows some of the leading South Korean players in the graphene and carbon nanotube (CNT) market.
Non-exhaustive list of South Korean manufacturers of graphene and CNTs. Image source: IDTechEx
Historically, Samsung have strong R&D experience with nanocarbons but now focus on partnering with external suppliers, many of which were founded by former Samsung employees. Examples of these new companies are shown on the map above. BestGraphene manufacture functionalized few-layer graphene (FLG) with applications areas including composite materials for batteries, additives for chip components, heat dissipation materials, and composite materials. KB Element produce FLG via a plasma exfoliation process, partnering with Samsung and LG to supply material for anti-static displays. For further information on South Korean graphene manufacturers, including material benchmarking, company financials, and more, see the IDTechEx market report.
As mentioned previously, many of the most suitable application areas for nanocarbons, such as graphene, are well-established in South Korea. A comparison can be drawn with the carbon nanotube market, for which three of the leading suppliers by capacity are based in South Korea. LG Chem has taken a significant position in the market and has established a vertically integrated supply chain for CNTs in battery applications. Similarly, JEIO and Kumho Petrochemical have announced plans to expand capacity, with the bulk of sales for energy storage and batteries.
A further comparison can be drawn for graphene oxide (GO) on the Chinese market. Sixth Element are the global leader for the supply of GO, with notable success in providing material to Chinese players such as Huawei for thermal management in consumer electronics.
IDTechEx's latest report on the graphene market gives coverage of graphene manufacturers and outlook for all major application areas. From research of the CNT market, IDTechEx note that LG Chem have already established a vertical supply chain for CNTs, and if an indigenous supply chain for graphene is seen as a priority for giants such as LG and Samsung, then the South Korean graphene market could be set for rapid expansion.
For more details on the graphene market, including segmentation by application area, see the IDTechEx market report "Graphene Market & 2D Materials Assessment 2024-2034: Technologies, Markets, Players". For more information, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Graphene, and for further information on IDTechEx's full portfolio of reports and market intelligence offerings, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Research.