BUSINESS

Samsung, SK hynix spur NAND flash investment on strong demand

By Shin Ji-hye
  • Published : Dec 27, 2016 - 18:06
  • Updated : Dec 27, 2016 - 18:06
The nation’s two largest chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK hynix are spurring investment in NAND flash memory in response to strong demand driven by new technologies such as the Internet of Things, big data and smart cars.

The world’s largest memory chipmaker Samsung Electronics plans to mass produce 64-layer NAND flash memory for the first time in the world early next year. The tech giant had invested a record 15.6 trillion won ($12.9 billion) into its chip plant in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.

“We plan to unveil solid-state drives based on the fourth generation 64-layer NAND flash memory early next year,” a Samsung official told The Korea Herald. A solid state drive is a data storage device based on semiconductor memory.

Samsung’s smaller rival SK hynix also plans to mass produce the 72-layer NAND flash in the second half of next year, jumping over the 64-layer NAND flash. The company recently announced that it would invest 15 trillion won into its new NAND flash plant in Cheongju by 2020.

The race to invest in the memory chip is likely to continue in the future with increasing penetration of digital devices, experts said.

“As more devices will be smarter and connected, there will be strong demand for NAND flash memory from both enterprises and public organizations in order to store big data,” said Ahn Ki-hyun, an executive at the Korea Semiconductor Industry Association.

Apart from the digital devices, smart systems for future vehicles will also require more memory capacity.

Although demand for the NAND flash is currently rising in the areas of in-vehicle infotainment -- audio and video entertainment for drivers -- memory capacity is also expected to be needed for advanced driver assistance system like adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking and blind spot monitoring.

Demand for NAND flash in the global market is predicted to increase from 82.2 billion gigabytes last year to 508.4 gigabytes by 2020, according to IHS Technologies.

Samsung Electronics retained the top position with a 34.9 percent share and SK Hynix is fifth in the global NAND flash market in the second quarter of this year, according to IHS Technologies.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)