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SK hynix to 'wisely' deal with risks associated with US-China trade tension: CEO

This photo provided by SK hynix Inc. on Feb. 1, 2021, shows the company's M16 fab in Icheon, south of Seoul. (SK hynix Inc.)
This photo provided by SK hynix Inc. on Feb. 1, 2021, shows the company's M16 fab in Icheon, south of Seoul. (SK hynix Inc.)
SK hynix CEO Lee Seok-hee said Monday that the company will respond "wisely" to the US-China trade tension that could cloud the chipmaker's plan to upgrade its Chinese plant.

"The fourth-generation DRAM chips have been produced in South Korea since July and it is still a long way to go before we can apply the same technology in our Chinese plant," he told reporters on the sidelines of an annual event of Semiconductor Day.

He referred to the most advanced 10nm chips produced using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography equipment made by the Dutch firm ASML.

The remarks came in response to concerns that SK hynix's plan to adopt ASML's EUV lithography technology in its factory in Wuxi, China, could be bogged down amid US worries that bringing in such high-tech tools to China could end up bolstering Chinese military capabilities and other strategic industries.

"We will respond to the matter wisely while cooperating with interested parties," he said, adding that the report is "nothing new."

Last week, a spokesperson of the company echoed the same sentiment, saying that "every industry is affected by geopolitical issues one way or another, but the (chip) industry has been lately under growing attention."

Asked whether he expected to get Chinese approval for SK hynix's deal to acquire Intel Corp.'s NAND business, he said the company "is actively cooperating" with the Chinese government, without elaborating further on the matter.

In October last year, South Korea's No. 2 memory chip maker signed a deal to buy Intel's non-volatile business for $9 billion, which includes the US firm's solid state drive business and a NAND flash chip plant in Dalian, China.

Following the deal, SK hynix has obtained approvals from antitrust regulators in the United States and six other countries and has yet to receive the green light from China. (Yonhap)

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