Tuesday, June 25, 2024

SK hynix to mass produce industry-leading AI chips this year: CEO

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | May 02, 2024 02:28 PM

Seoul: Kwak Noh-jung, CEO of South Korean chipmaker SK hynix, on Thursday unveiled plans to mass-produce, up-to-date high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips with 12 layers in the third quarter, aiming to solidify the company's leadership in the artificial intelligence (AI) memory market amid surging demand.

"On the HBM technology side, the company is planning to provide samples of 12-high HBM3E with the industry's best performance in May, and start mass production in the third quarter," he said at the company's headquarters in Icheon, some 58 kms southeast of Seoul.

"On the production side, HBM from 2024 output already sold out, while that from 2025 volume almost sold out,” Noh-jung added.

The popularity of SK hynix's HBM products came as HBM chips, integral components used for AI computing, have garnered increasing attention with the rise of applications such as generative AI, exemplified by models like ChatGPT, reports Yonhap news agency.

The South Korean company is considered as the front-runner in the HBM market and a key supplier to US AI chip leader Nvidia, with its latest eight-layer HBM3E mass-produced in March for the first time in the industry.

"The company forecasts a fast expansion of AI technology into a wider range of on-device applications such as smartphones, PCs and automobiles from data centers now," Kwak said. "Demand for ultra-fast, high-capacity and low-power memory products for AI applications is expected to show an explosive increase."

Sales of AI memory, led by HBM and high-capacity DRAM modules, are expected to dominate 61 per cent of the global memory chip market by 2028, sharply up from 5 per cent in 2023, according to SK hynix.

Kwak expressed confidence in winning the intensifying competition in the global HBM market, despite challenges from competitors, like Samsung Electronics and Micron Technology.

Last month, Samsung Electronics announced plans to mass-produce the 12-high HBM3E chips within the second quarter in a bid to keep up with the ever-changing HBM market trend.

In line with its strategy to meet demand for AI memory in a timely manner, SK hynix has decided to invest 5.3 trillion won ($3.85 billion) to build a new DRAM production base named M15X in South Korea, with commercial operation to be started in the third quarter of 2026.

It also announced plans to funnel nearly $4 billion into an advanced packaging fabrication and R&D facility in the United States to begin mass-producing AI memory products, including next-generation high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips, in the second half of 2028.


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