South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix has announced plans to build two new manufacturing facilities in the country over the next eight years.
Costing an estimated 31 trillion won (US$26.1 billion), the two advanced memory chip plants will be located in Icheon and Cheongju, and will begin manufacturing NAND flash units by 2023, reported The Korea Times.
The announcement came at the completion of its M14 facility in Icheon, which SK touted to be the world's largest DRAM production site. Spanning 66,000 square metres, the site boasted a capacity of 200,000 12-inch wafers a month and would begin manufacturing chips this quarter.
South Korea President Park Geun-hye said at the M14 launch: "Korea's leadership in manufacturing is being challenged... This is why SK's massive chip investment has substantial meaning."
She added that her government would address regulatory barriers in order to encourage major companies to invest, pointing to the importance of the local semiconductor industry in driving the ecosystem. "For example, Korea's presence in logic chips is relatively weaker than its strength in conventional memory chips, meaning companies should invest more to find qualified local ventures and for the development of new materials and equipment," Park said.
The world's second-largest DRAM manufacturer, SK Hynix currently operates four 12-inch chip including two in China, as well as an 8-inch logic chip production site. Earlier this month, it settled a lawsuit with SanDisk after both sides agreed to a patent and manufacturing deal.