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SK hynix's new chip facility to start mass production in June

All News 11:59 January 29, 2021

By Joo Kyung-don

SEOUL, Jan. 29 (Yonhap) -- SK hynix Inc. said Friday its new chip production line, named M16, will begin mass production in June this year as the South Korean chipmaker tries to expand its presence in the memory sector.

The world's second-largest DRAM maker said it plans to hold the completion ceremony of the M16 fab, located at its main production base in Icheon, south of Seoul, on Monday.

"We will be starting our pilot volume production starting this year, and we will try to make adjustments if necessary," the company said in a conference call. "Mass production will begin in full starting in June when the pilot test is completed."

The M16 fab is the world's largest three-story chip factory, according to the company, while most chip plants have a two-story structure. SK hynix started the construction of the new production line in December 2018 after investing 15 trillion won (US$13.4 billion).

At the new facility, SK hynix is expected to produce fourth-generation 10-nanometer (1anm) DRAM products using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology.

This file photo shows the corporate logo of South Korean chipmaker SK hynix Inc. (Yonhap)

"We have already secured EUV lithography equipment and are closely discussing with the equipment maker on long-term supply of such equipment," it said. "We plan to use the EUV equipment for the fourth-generation 10-nanometer DRAM production first and fully use it for the fifth-generation 10-nanometer (1bnm) DRAM.

SK hynix said the new factory will boost its technology leadership in the sector as the company tries to expand memory products with finer processing.

"As of last year, third-generation 10-nanometer (1znm) and second-generation 10-nanometer (1ynm) chip manufacturing processes accounted for 40 percent our DRAM production, but we plan to expand that portion to at least 75 percent this year," the company said. "We will also start 1anm processing, which boasts 40 percent better productivity than 1znm, this year."

When it comes to NAND, the company said its 128-layer chip product accounted for 30 percent of its production. SK hynix added it plans to mass-produce 176-layer NAND from this year.

In a conference call, SK hynix said its capital expenditure for 2020 stood at 9.9 trillion won, down from 12.7 trillion won in 2019. The company did not provided the targeted capital expenditure figure for this year but said its facility spending will increase to a "limited extent" compared to last year.

This photo provided by SK hynix Inc. on Oct. 6, 2020, shows the company's DDR5 DRAM. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SK hynix said it is also pushing for the complete relocation of its 8-inch foundry facility in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, to China.

The company's M8 site in Cheongju has 8-inch wafer capacity of between 100,000 and 120,000 a month depending on products.

"We expect the boom in 8-inch foundry to continue for some time," it said. "We have been trying to relocate to China, where cost-cutting is possible. Initially, we planned to complete the relocation across two years, but since customer demand is strong, we have decided to complete the relocation as soon as possible."

kdon@yna.co.kr
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