By Chun Gyung-woon and Cho Jeehyun
South Korean semiconductor companies Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc. will add at least five new fab lines fitted with the latest technology at home and abroad by 2020 to secure their position as world’s top chipmakers.
SK Hynix is slated to hold an event celebrating the completion of its M15 fab in Cheongju, central Korea on Thursday, according to industry sources on Wednesday. The company has spent 2.2 trillion won ($1.96 billion) to just build the M15 fab, which spans a total area of 230,000 square meters, and its total investment would amount 15 trillion won with facilities. The new fab will go into operation around the end of this year, at the earliest.
The company is also expanding its Wuxi plant in China with completion schedule set at the end of this year, and it will break ground for the M16 fab in Icheon, southeast of Seoul, within this year. The M16 fab will reportedly be equipped with next-generation extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography tools and built by October 2020.
Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest chipmaker, is also working to further ramp up its production capacity.
Currently, it is installing new lines dedicated to EUV lithography process, in its semiconductor plant in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, in Korea, as well as building second next-generation fabrication line at its semiconductor base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province next to the 64-layer V-NAND memory fab. In China, it is adding another memory fabrication line in Xian.
The new lines in Hwaseong and Xian production bases are scheduled to start mass production next year, and the construction of the second line in Pyeongtaek campus is to be finished by 2020.
Once the new ones go fully operational, the company would be running nearly 20 semiconductor lines, allowing the chipmaker to firmly secure its global championship title, industry watchers said.