SK hynix to Build M15X Fab in Korea, Preps up for Growth

SK hynix Inc. has announced that it will build the M15X(eXtension) new fabrication plant, in Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do, in preparation for future growth.

The company will start construction of the M15 extension on the site it previously secured earlier than initially planned, considering various market situations.

Sk hynix will invest a total of 15 trillion won over the next five years to build the new fab.

Bankroll 15 Trillion Won in Investments

In particular, the new plant will be built from October on the 60,000㎡ land located in the Cheongju Technopolis industrial complex. The new plant is planned to be completed early 2025. A total of 15 trillion won (US$10.8 billion) will be injected over the next five years to build the fab and set up production facilities. The fab will be a two-story building equivalent to a combination of M11 and M12 in size.

As for the next M17 fab, the company will decide construction plan after reviewing overall business environment, including changes in the semiconductor business cycle.

Looking back on the past 10 years, SK hynix could grow into a global company as it boldly carried out investment during crisis,” said Vice Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Park Jung-ho. “As we look to prepare for the next 10 years now, I believe starting the M15X will be a first step to lay foundation for a solid future growth.”

Solid Leader in the Memory Market

SK hynix has so far solidified its leadership in the memory market through preemptive and bold investments despite rapid changes in business environment. In 2012, when the broader industry was scaling back investments and the company was in the red, SK hynix decided to increase investment by more than 10 percent compared with a year ago. This set of investments resulted in a dramatic turnaround by the end of the year. Market uncertainties continued to linger. However, in 2015, the company built the M14 fab in Icheon to prepare for the next boom in the memory business. In turn, this led to record-high financial results for two straight years from 2017.

Since it became a member of SK Group in 2012, SK hynix has pushed forward investments for the next 10 years in accordance with the Future Vision it has made public in 2015. The Vision was the company’s pledge that it will invest 46 trillion won from 2014 to build three more fabrication plants including the M14 in Icheon. Such promise was met earlier than targeted following completion of the M15 in Cheongju and the M16 in Icheon in 2018 and 2021, respectively.

Demand for memory chips is rapidly falling in the wake of the global economic slowdown and instability of the supply chain. However, experts foresee that the business will start to recover steadily from 2024. Further, it will rebound in 2025 as the memory business cycle is increasingly getting less volatile in recent years.

The plan to build the M15X comes as SK hynix prepares for the next upturn expected to come in 2025. With the construction of the M15X, the company will be ready to provide more memory chips when the industry enters a boom again.