[THE INVESTOR] SK hynix aims to become the first chipmaker to mass-produce the most-advanced 72-layer 3D-NAND chips from the second half of next year, according to industry sources on Dec. 26.
The company expects to complete the development in the first half of next year and start production in the third-quarter at its Icheon plant in Gyeonggi Province.
Amid competition among chipmakers to stack cells in more and more layers, the company that has started mass-producing the 48-layer NAND from November is skipping a generation to reach 72.
Its crosstown rival Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest memory chipmaker, is mass-producing the 64-layer NAND, while Japan’s Toshiba is also working on its own 64-layer chips.
SK hynix, which still depends almost 70 percent of revenue on DRAM that is used for temporary data storage in PCs and smartphones, is recently ramping up efforts to beef up NAND chips whose demand is growing for long-term storage of cloud and Internet of Things services.
Largely buoyed by soaring chip prices recently, the company has become the nation’s second-largest company in terms market capitalization in the local bourse.
The company announced last week it will spend 2.2 trillion won (US$1.84 billion) to build a new NAND plant in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, and the remaining 950 billion won to boost the production capacity of DRAM ships at its Chinese plant in Wuxi.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)