Thursday, December 2, 2021

SK Hynix being extremely careful using Chinese facilities amidst pressure from the US

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In recent news, Mr. Lee Seok-hee, CEO of Korean memory firm SK Hynix, stated that his business will “wisely” negotiate existing tensions between the US and China when it comes to putting cutting-edge chip production equipment in its Chinese facilities.

SK Hynix, one of the world’s leading memory module makers, is now updating its facilities with equipment that can print semiconductors using intense UV radiation. The US government has prohibited their maker from sending these machines to China, citing concerns that they may be used to develop items for the Chinese military.

These remarks from Mr. Lee came during a press conference on the sidelines of Semiconductor Day when he was asked about the continuing issue surrounding claims of US worries over SK Hynix modernizing its memory production facilities in China. Memory modules are used in conjunction with central processing units (CPUs) in the computer industry to process data and store information that is not required immediately by the CPU.

Last week, Reuters made a report related to a controversy surrounding the Chinese factory, stating that SK Hynix’s plans to rebuild its memory production facility in Wuxi, China, were in trouble because American officials do not want extreme ultraviolet (EUV) devices delivered to the nation. While a White House official would comment on whether the US will allow the Korean business to transfer the equipment to China, he said the US is still committed to denying China access to the instruments.

As reported by Yonhap, SK Hynix’s CEO outlined to reporters that:

“The fourth-generation DRAM chips have been produced in South Korea since July and it is still a long way to go before we can apply the same technology in our Chinese plant. We will respond to the matter wisely while cooperating with interested parties.”

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The memory modules described by the executive are made using EUV machines on the 10-nanometer semiconductor node. These machines are built by ASML, a Dutch firm that is the only one in the world capable of producing them. They also utilize technology that originated in the United States, giving the government the capacity to prohibit them from being exploited by entities that are hostile to American national security.

“The adoption of the advanced ASML technologies was still a few years away for SK Hynix’s Chinese operation. I think there are still ways to solve the issue diplomatically because SK Hynix is not a Chinese company.”

The company’s Chinese facility is in Wuxi, Jiangsu province’s easternmost city. It produces half of SK Hynix’s DRAM (Dynamic read-write Random Access Memory) modules, accounting for 15% of the company’s overall output.


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Avatar of Nivedita Bangari
Nivedita Bangari
I am a software engineer by profession and technology is my love, learning and playing with new technologies is my passion.


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