SK Hynix's new fab will boost production of 3D NAND flash and DRAM

Intel and Micron may be trying to upend the chip memory market with their 3D XPoint non-volatile memory technology, but that isn't stopping SK Hynix from investing ₩3.15 trillion ($2.6 billion) in additional fabrication space for regular DRAM and 3D NAND flash. The company will spend this money to build a new fabrication plant in Cheongju, South Korea and expand clean-room operations in an existing plant in Wuxi, China.

The design phase for new Korean plant begins in January, with shovels hitting dirt in August 2017 and production starting by the end of 2019. The new fab is expected to cost ₩2.2 trillion ($1.8 billion) and will be used to construct 3D NAND chips for use in storage devices. According to Anandtech, the investment is somewhat smaller than the amount the company spent on its largest plant. Anandtech goes on to explain that factory will produce 3D NAND exclusively during the initial stage, but will eventually diversify into DRAM chip production.

The company also plans to spend ₩950 billion ($790 million) to expand operations at its Wuxi plant in China. SK Hynix's Wuxi operations currently produce about half of the company's current DRAM production. The chipmaker expects the output per area of floor space to decrease over time due to the emergence of more complex manufacturing processes. The expansion of the Chinese factory is intended to help make up for this projected decrease in productivity.

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