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SK hynix opens world’s largest chip plant  

South Korean chipmaker SK hynix unveiled Tuesday its new chip plant -- the largest of its kind globally -- in a move to strengthen its leadership in the global memory chip market. 

The new plant, named M14, is located on a site of 53,000 square meters at its Icheon headquarters in Gyeonggi Province. It has a maximum production capacity of 200,000 300-millimeter semiconductor wafers per month. 

President Park Geun-hye (left) and SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won talk at SK hynix`s new chip plant in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday. Yonhap
President Park Geun-hye (left) and SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won talk at SK hynix`s new chip plant in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday. Yonhap

The plant also features the world’s largest clean room, a two-story building with a combined floor space of 66,000 square meters.

About 15 trillion won ($12.6 billion) is expected to be poured into the new facility. It will start producing some 3,000 wafers at the end of this year and extend the capacity in phases. 

The company said it also planned to build two more plants in Korea in the coming years with an additional investment of 31 trillion won.

“This is a milestone moment for the nation’s semiconductor history,” said SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won during the plant’s opening ceremony held at the headquarters.

“Even though we are leading the market now, we cannot predict the future. We will continue to make new challenges for growth.”

It was Chey’s first official appearance since being freed from prison by presidential pardon on Aug. 15. The SK chief also pledged to make efforts to help boost the sluggish economy.

President Park Geun-hye, who joined the event, also showed high expectations about the company’s new investment.

“Preemptive and aggressive investment is crucial at a time when business structures are reshaped across industries. With the new chip plant, SK hynix will further strengthen its leading position,” she said. 

SK hynux`s new M14 plant
SK hynux`s new M14 plant

The total 46 trillion won investment plan comes after the chipmaker was acquired by SK Group, the nation’s third-largest conglomerate, for 3.4 trillion won in 2012.

The company has secured a firm footing in dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, chips. Its key customers include Apple and Samsung Electronics.

Amid a decline in the price of memory chips for personal computers, the company pinned its hopes on chips for smartphones and other mobile devices.

Earlier the company predicted prices for PC chips to recover in the second half due to supply constraints. It also expects demand for mobile chips to increase as suppliers shift production to chips for smart devices.

In 2014, the company reported record sales of 17.1 trillion won, while its operating profits also jumped 51 percent year-on-year to 5.1 trillion won.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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