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Foundry expansion

SK Hynix co-vice chairman hints at expanding foundry business

By Apr 22, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

SK Hynix co-vice chairman hints at expanding foundry business

SK Hynix Inc., the world’s second-largest memory chipmaker, may expand its foundry business as a growing number of industries are suffering from depleting chip supplies.

Park Jung-ho, co-vice chairman and co-CEO of SK Hynix, told reporters on Apr. 21 that he sees the need to invest more in the foundry business, which makes semiconductors for fabless firms, including chip designers.

“Domestic fabless companies are asking (us) for foundry services similar to Taiwan’s TSMC to further their technology. I agree with them,” Park told reporters on the sidelines of the World IT Show 2021, which opened at COEX in Seoul on Wednesday.

His comments come as Samsung Electronics Co. and other global foundry players are running their plants at full capacity to meet demand from makers of cars and electronic devices.

The chip shortage, which began with a declining supply of automotive chips, is expected to persist throughout the year, as consumer demand for TVs, smartphones, laptops and cars has bounced back from the COVID-19 crisis sooner than expected.

SK Hynix is operating its foundry business through its subsidiary SK Hynix System IC, which is in the middle of moving its 8-inch wafer facilities from its Cheongju plant in Korea to Wuxi, China, close to the parent company’s NAND flash factory.

SK Hynix System IC manufactures chips used in consumer electronics, including CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) image sensors and display driver integrated circuit (DDIC) chips, using 8-inch wafers.

Park Jung-ho, SK Hynix co-vice chairman and co-CEO
Park Jung-ho, SK Hynix co-vice chairman and co-CEO

Industry watchers said SK Hynix may seek acquisitions to strengthen its foundry business.

Last year, the company acquired a majority stake in Key Foundry, a unit of Korea’s Magnachip Semiconductor Corp., through a private equity fund investment.

SAMSUNG CONSIDERS RAMP-UP OF LARGE-SIZE LED BUSINESS

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics is also considering ramping up its facilities for large-size TVs and displays.

Han Jong-hui, president of Samsung's display business, said at Wednesday’s IT exhibition that the company will likely increase investment in its display segment.

“We’re running our Micro LED line that makes the largest 146-inch TVs at full capacity. It seems that we have to ramp up the production line as 70-inch and 80-inch products are also set to roll out in the second half,” he said.

Han Jong-hui, president of Samsung's display business
Han Jong-hui, president of Samsung's display business

Samsung, the world’s top manufacturer of TVs, has unveiled a series of new large-size TVs to retain its global TV leadership.

Micro LED TV uses micrometer-sized LED chips as singular pixels that can also self-illuminate, providing clearer images.

Samsung currently makes Micro LEDs at its plant in Vietnam with LED chips supplied from a Chinese company.

Write to Jeong-Soo Hwang and Su-Bin Lee at hjs@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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