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Hynix Semiconductor hints at production of NAND Flash chips in Wuxi, China

Hynix Semiconductor said Tuesday that it would focus on NAND Flash projects this year, indicating that it may make the chips at its plant in Wuxi, China.

Hynix chief executive Kwon Oh-chul said its only overseas plant in Wuxi is capable of producing NAND Flash chips, widely used in wireless devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs, in a press conference. It was the first since SK Telecom’s takeover of the chipmaker.

“We’re planning to expand our business boundaries, but we will need to more specifically discuss that matter with our chairman (SK’s Chey Tae-won) in the future,” he said.
Kwon Oh-chul. (Bloomberg)
Kwon Oh-chul. (Bloomberg)

The firm’s overseas plant in Wuxi has been producing dynamic random access memory (DRAM) in the past, with Hynix’s market share in the global DRAM market recording about 20 percent last year. It also reached a 12 percent market share in NAND Flash.

As for the targeted share in NAND Flash memory market, Kwon said, “our goal is injecting (investments) as much as we can and as fast as we can.”

Hynix is concentrating on increasing the production volume of NAND Flash memory chips this year with the soaring popularity of smart gadgets.

The company said earlier this year that it would secure technological competitiveness through the production of 20 nanometer products and the development of 10 nanometer products.

It also said it will expand its business boundaries by increasing the portion of NAND Flash-related projects such as eNAND and solid state drives. On top of such moves, it expects to increase the production capacity of 300 mm NAND Flash wafers from 130,000 per month last year to 170,000 per month this year with the operation of its M12 Fabrication facility.

“I believe our chance for growth in the memory market is very high since the demand of memory chips with the rise of the smart and mobile eras,” said Kwon. “We also comparatively have advantages in technology, quality of products and price competitiveness.”

Kwon, however, said the firm plans to move into the non-memory sector with the highest possibility becoming System LSI in the long term.

“We won’t concentrate on the memory businesses forever,” he said. “But the time isn’t right to unveil the exact timeline (for System LSI) at this point. We expect to give interest in that field while we look for future growth engines and continuously draft our related plans.”

System LSI, which takes up over 80 percent of the semiconductor industry, has been designated to become the growth engine for its rival Samsung Electronics this year.

In the meantime, Hynix said it is in the development process of three next generation memory products ― Spin-transfer torque random access memory (STT RAM), Phase-change memory (PC RAM) and new the non-volatile resistive random access memory (ReRAM), according to its research and development chief Park Sung-wook.

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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