SK Hynix speeds up weaning off mainstay memory via automotive, foundry biz

2020.08.12 13:35:19 | 2020.08.12 13:35:54

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SK Hynix Inc. will accelerate diversification in its memory-focused portfolio by strengthening edge in chips for automotive electronics and on-demand foundry business.

According to industry sources on Tuesday, SK Hynix created an automotive chip research and development team late last year. With the automotive chip business marketing team already launched before the R&D team, SK Hynix’s automotive chip division is now in full swing to take off.

The company, together with electric vehicle battery maker SK Innovation and other affiliates under SK Group, presented its vision about new mobility technologies at the CES 2020 consumer trade show in January this year.

It is working to get certification on its automotive memory solutions from the Automotive Electronic Council, a standardization body for automotive parts quality.

“Memory chips used in vehicles should guarantee reliable quality and stability for the safety of the driver and passengers,” said Shim Dae-yong, SK Hynix’s automotive business team director. “We are striving to offer the top-quality products, and our efforts are begging to pay off this year.”

Its foundry business is expected to pick up upon the completion of its foundry in China. SK Hynix is world’s second largest in DRAM and a dominant player in flash memory. Its foundry is hardly noticeable with its global share remaining under 1 percent.

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Its foundry factory in Wuxi, China has started pilot operation. The company plans to relocate equipment from its M8 fab in Cheongju, Korea to the new foundry in China.

The move is considered timely as the 8-inch foundry market has been booming, providing a boon for its foundry unit SK Hynix System IC Inc. The foundry firm saw revenue tripled to 661.5 billion won ($558 million) in 2019 from 2017.

The foundry business under logic chipmaker MagnaChip Semiconductor Corp., in which SK Hynix invested in consortium with local private equity firms earlier this year is also ready for full takeoff as a standalone company. The foundry business’s mainstay business is 8-inch wafer fabrication.

SK Hynix reportedly plans to remain as a financial investor in the foundry firm and stay away from management, despite market’s expectation for technology cooperation between the two.

By Kim Gyu-sik, Chun Gyung-woon, and Cho Jeehyun

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