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SK Hynix splashes out $11 billion on new semiconductor plant

The company will produce memory chips, but will reportedly decided closer to the time whether they will be DRAM or NAND flash chips depending on market conditions

SK Hynix will invest 15 trillion won ($10.9 billion) to build a new chip fabrication plant in South Korea, hoping to be ready for a chip boom that’s expected to come in 2025.

The South Korean company will build the new plant, M15X, in Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do, to prepare for future growth, it revealed today. The company is preparing for the next upturn in the chip industry expected to come in 2025 and hopes to be ready to provide more memory chips when the industry enters a boom again.

The new plant is set to be built from October on 60,000㎡ of land in the Cheongju Technopolis industrial complex which it hopes will be completed by early 2025. The 15 trillion won will be spent over the next five years to build the fab and set up production facilities. It’s expected to be a two-story building.

The company revealed the plant will make memory chips but will decide closer to the time whether they will be DRAM or NAND flash chips depending on market conditions, as reported by Reuters.

"Looking back on the past 10 years, SK Hynix could grow into a global company as it boldly carried out investment during crisis," said vice chairman and co-chief executive Park Jung-ho. "As we look to prepare for the next 10 years now, I believe starting the M15X will be a first step to lay foundation for a solid future growth."

Since becoming a member of SK Group, its parent, in 2012, the company has planned investments for the next 10 years. This was through its Future Vision which was the company’s pledge to invest 46 trillion won from 2014 to build three more fabrication plants. This included M14 in Icheon, M15 in Chengju, and M16 in Icheon. The company said it would decide a construction plan for the M17 fab, after reviewing the overall business environment including changes in the semiconductor business cycle.

SK Hynix noted that demand for memory chips is rapidly falling in the wake of the global economic slowdown and instability of the supply chain. However, it underlined that experts foresee that the business will begin to recover steadily from 2024 and rebound in 2025 as the memory business cycle becomes less volatile than in recent years.

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