SK sees ‘big leap’ with Hynix

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Mar 26, 2012 - 19:42
  • Updated : Mar 26, 2012 - 21:55

Chairman Chey aims high with synergy with the world’s No. 2 chipmaker

ICHEON, Gyeonggi Province -- SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won on Monday showed confidence that the nation’s third-largest conglomerate can produce synergy with the newly acquired chipmaker SK Hynix, formerly Hynix Semiconductor.

“Through Hynix, SK Group will strengthen competitiveness in technologies, not just in the semiconductor sector, and earn more credibility globally,” said Chey, who is also the co-CEO of SK Hynix, during the company’s launch event held at the company’s headquarters in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province.

SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won (left) attaches an SK badge to a new Hynix employee during an inauguration event at the company’s headquarters in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, on Monday. (SK Hynix)

He also expected that Hynix would enjoy benefits like increased bargaining power with its clients such as HP and Apple, saying “For those global players, SK Telecom (the group’s flagship mobile unit) is an important buyer.”

SK recently became the new owner of the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker, 10 years after Hynix went under creditors’ control in 2001 when Hyundai Group gave up its management right.

In the highly-publicized merger deal, SK Telecom bought a 21-percent controlling stake in Hynix for 3.4 trillion won ($3 billion) – the biggest-ever acquisition by SK Group.

In 1978, SK attempted to enter the semiconductor industry with the establishment of Sunkyung Semiconductor but had to withdraw the plan due to the following crude oil crisis.

“After more than three decades since the first attempt, we have accepted Hynix as our new member. It is a big leap in the history of SK Group,” Chey said.

Other than Chey, chief executive Kwon Oh-chul, who has led Hynix since 2010, also appeared impressed by the company’s fresh start declared on Monday.

“The nation’s memory chip industry started 30 years ago, growing into one of the most representative exporting sectors now. And Hynix has played an increasingly salient role in the market,” Kwon said.

“Until we become the world’s best and even afterward, stay hungry and stay foolish,” he said before some 2,000 company officials and guests at the event, citing the famous speech by the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

In a separate press release on the day, SK Hynix pledged to step up efforts to expand its global presence beyond the market for dynamic random access memory, the chip used for PCs. The company saw its market share in the global DRAM market reach about 20 percent last year.

This year, the company said, it would focus more on NAND Flash projects globally, especially in China, the world’s largest memory chip market.

NAND Flash is widely used in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, with the global demand soaring recently.

The company plans to increase the production of NAND Flash from the current 40 percent of total production to 70 percent by 2016. Early this month, Kwon, the CEO, also hinted that the company may make NAND Flash chips at its only overseas plant in Wuxi, China.

Hynix, which currently hires some 23,700 employees, logged about 10.4 trillion won in sales last year.

By Lee Ji-yoon (