SK Hynix last week announced plans to build another semiconductor fab near its headquarters in Icheon, South Korea. The production facility is not going to be as big and expensive as other investments, but will contribution to the company’s revenue and bottom line.

The new fab will be located on a 53,000 m2 site near Icheon, Gyeonggi-do province, and will cost SK Hynix around ₩3.5 trillion ($3.13 billion) to build. The company will begin construction of the fab in late 2018 and expects to complete the fab in October, 2020. The maker of memory did not say whether the plant will be operational by that timeframe, or if only the building will be completed, but given typical amount of time it takes semiconductor companies to bring up a new fab online, it is likely that the facility will process actual wafers by late 2020.

By the 'standards' of South Korea-based makers of DRAM and NAND memory, the new fab is small and cheap. Just to put the $3.13 billion in context, Samsung’s total investments in its Pyeongtaek facility will total ₩30 trillion ($26.1 billion) by 2021 and the fab is located on a 759,000 m2 site. SK Hynix itself is operating its own M14 gigantic fab near Icheon. In fact, the addition of the new fab to SK Hynix’s family did not have any effect on its commitment to spend ₩46 trillion (~$41.16 billion) on fabs in the mid and long-term future announced back in 2016. At present SK Hynix is upgrading its M14 fab in South Korea, buidling a new DRAM/3D NAND fab near Cheongju (South Korea), and expanding its C2 fab in Wuxi, China.

Overview of SK Hynix Manufacturing Capacities
Data as of Late 2016
  Icheon, South Korea Cheongju, South Korea Wuxi, China
M10 M14 Future M8 M11 M12 Future C2
Production Capacity
(300-mm wafer starts per month)
130K <200K now

300K after upgrades
TBD - 50K 40K TBD 130K
being upgraded
Application DRAM Yes Yes ? - Yes Yes Yes Yes
NAND 2D + 3D ? - 2D 2D 3D 2D
DDIC - - - Yes - - - -
PMIC - - - Yes - - - -
CIS Yes - - Yes - - - -
Wafer Size (mm) 300 200 300
2016 Q3
Total DRAM Output Today (300-mm wafer starts per month) 300K
Total NAND Ouput Today (300-mm wafer starts per month) 230K

SK Hynix did not say what kind of products it is going to build in the new fab, but indicated that the decisions will be made considering future market conditions. The company also said that the fab would be constructed “in response to growing demand for memory chips and to secure a future growth engine.” Given modest dimensions of the fab it is possible that it will be used mainly for development of next-gen products and/or process technologies rather than for high-volume production of commodity DRAM or 3D NAND memory.

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Source: SK Hynix

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  • StrangerGuy - Monday, July 30, 2018 - link

    Yeah with those multiple convictions of price fixing in the past and an looking at a multibillion fine for the same in China, how dare those damned entitled kiddos complain about prices.
  • namechamps - Monday, July 30, 2018 - link

    Yeah expanding capacity only years after keeping supply artificially tight and in response to new competitors is 100% not cartel like at all.
  • mdriftmeyer - Monday, July 30, 2018 - link

    They probably didn't realize a new consortium is in town and it includes SK Hynix, Apple, DELL and brokered by Bain Capital.

    Apple didn't kick in $10 Billion to get the Toshiba IP for nothing.
  • Dragonstongue - Monday, July 30, 2018 - link

    supplies are constrained they say this is unfortunately what is keeping price high.

    hmmmm, last time I checked $40+ billion is not exactly pocket change, if revenue etc was "so hard to come by" they would not all be constantly expanding, revving up to better and better nm class while systematically ensuing pricing was as high as they can possibly make it.

    "back in my day a $1 sandwich did not cost $100" but that is exactly what these "giants" are doing, but instead of it being a $2 "sandwich" it is a .0001$ crumb from that sandwich and they want $1,000 for it instead (none of them seem to be overly concerned about aftermarket resource management either e.g collection places for broken or unusable tech parts)

    They do not build them cheap (price wise) they do seem to build cheap (for not lasting) but just touch enough to ensure is not worth it for salvage materials from (to be able to recycle the "rare earth" metals)
  • austinsguitar - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    as long as they make better memory... like for desktop use. not just ecc 2666, but like 3000+ mhz ram that has timings that arnt in the stone age. jesus.
  • menting - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - link

    if you know of a way to do it, I'm sure one of the DRAM manufacturers would pay you a pretty penny.

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