South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc. plans to spend over 200 billion won ($174 million) to create a research and development center devoted to NAND flash memory and future technologies.
The world’s second-largest chipmaker has recently turned aggressive in reinforcing its capabilities in the non-volatile memory that is in explosive demand due to acceleration in applications of automation, digitalization and big data.
It is investing $3.5 billion for an interest in the world’s second-largest NAND flash memory unit offered to be sold by Toshiba Corp. of Japan. The chipmaker has already pledged $6 billion to ramp up capacity in 3D NAND. As result, its share in the global NAND market moved up a notch from last year to the fourth largest this year.
The new R&D center to be located next to its next-generation NAND M14 fab in Icheon will bring together about 4,000 researchers scattered across labs once construction is finished in 2019.
SK Hynix has benefited hugely from the recent super cycle in semiconductors where demand is coupled with tight supply. It expects to end the year in its biggest-ever operating profit from both dynamic random access memory and NAND sales.
The company that finished last year in its best-yet performance invested 2.1 trillion won in R&D, which was tantamount to 12.2 percent of 2016 sales. It spent over 1.1 billion won in R&D in the first half of this year alone.
Shares of SK Hynix closed Thursday up 0.97 percent at 83,200 won.
By Lee Dong-in
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