By Lee Dong-in
SK Hynix Inc., a traditional powerhouse in dynamic random access memory (DRAM), has emerged as a potential strong player in the nonvolatile flash memory division as it aggressively ramps up production capacity following its bid for the world’s second-largest NAND business of Toshiba Corp.
SK Hynix turns out 3D flash mostly on 48-layers but has begun mass-production of 72-layer chips for Chinese and U.S. clients. The chipmaker plans to make the 72-layer its mainstay in 3D NAND output. Its bigger competitors Samsung Electronics and Toshiba produce 3D flash in 64 layers.
SK Hynix is included in the consortium likely to win Toshiba’s flash memory business. Although its access to Toshiba, which is the pioneer in NAND flash chips, is limited due to antitrust issues, it could expand its corporate client base as the consortium also includes big hardware names like Apple and Dell. It also could pursue new developments with Toshiba without worrying about the proprietary rights.
NAND chips that do not require power to store memory have been quickly replacing the DRAM counterparts and are in explosive demand due to increasing applications to power smart and autonomous devices and vehicles.
According to IHS Markit, SK Hynix’s ranking in the global flash memory market slipped to fifth with a share of 10.6 percent in the second quarter from the fourth place with a 11.4 percent share in the first quarter.