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Apple, Samsung and a lot of their investors are probably watching today's Korean summit

  • South Korea is home to two of the largest manufacturers of flat panel displays.
  • South Korea is a leader in memory chips.
  • Samsung Electronics is the biggest smartphone maker in the world.
  • Apple and Sony rely on components from South Korea.

North Korea and South Korea are on the verge of an historic moment — and it matters for tech companies and their investors far beyond the peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In are meeting on Friday. It's only the third time leaders from the two Koreas have ever met.

The summit will help set the stage for Kim's planned meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. The event is important in of itself, especially for Koreans.

But beyond the geopolitics, many investors care as well — including, for example, holders of Apple stock.

South Korea is critical to the global supply chain

South Korea is home to two of the largest manufacturers of flat panel displays. It is a leader in memory chips. Samsung Electronics is the biggest smartphone maker in the world.

Companies such as Apple and Sony rely on components from South Korea — and if anything were to disrupt that supply, the effects would ripple through the global economy.

South Korean factories are close to the border

The South Korean city of Paju, about 12 miles (22 kilometers) from the border, is a major production center for New York-listed LG Display as well as other companies.

Thanks to LG Display, the city is the biggest manufacturing hub for the large screen panels for TVs. About 80 percent of the company's big displays are built at the LG complex, and in 2015, LG announced plans to invest an additional $9 billion to construct a new facility.

The LG site is a 17-minute drive to get as close to the border as possible without a military escort.