SK Hynix invests $13.3 billion to build the seventh chip plant equipped with EUV lithographic process
A bear market of memory chip is coming in 2019 with the NAND flash memory and DRAM price reduction. All of Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron plan to reduce capital expenditure to deal with losses of price reduction, but it doesn’t mean they will not build chip plants anymore. SK Hynix’s seventh semiconductor chip plant M16, whose construction begins on Wednesday, has a $13.3 billion investment in total. Although it hasn’t been decided to produce DRAM or NAND flash memory chip, the fab will be equipped with EUV lithographic process.
The newest M15 fab built by SK Hynix in October is a part of its $40.77 billion investment plan when the completion of global biggest memory chip factory in 2015. Fab M15 which is mainly used to produce 3D NAND flash memory, locates in Cheongju, South Chungcheong Korea with a $13.3 billion investment. It will be used to produce 72-layer stacking 3D NAND, but will turn to 96-layer stacking 3D NAND flash memory production in next year.
The fab M16 whose official launching is held on Wednesday this week is after fab M15. It is predicted to formally completed in 2020 with a uncertain investment which won’t be less than $13.3 billion. Its infrastructure covering 30 acres will cost $3.1 billion. It hasn’t been determined the fab will produce DRAM or NAND flash memory, which will depend on market demands and its technological level when construction is finished.
It is certain that fab M16 will use the most advanced EUV lithographic process. Memory chip is different from logic chip that its demand of EUV lithographic process is not as high as the later, but Samsung and SK Hynix still plans to produce memory chips by EUV process. While the Micron’s attitude to EUV is relatively conservative, so next two generations of memory chips still won’t use EUV lithographic process.
Beyond Korea SK Hynix has another DRAM chip factory in Wuxi China, whose first phase has a capacity between 100 thousand and 120 thousand wafers per month. It will be one of the most important DRAM chip base. SK Hynix announced it will invest $8.6 billion in constructing a second memory fab in Wuxi, whose capacity is predicted to reach 200 thousand wafers per month.