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SK hynix chief underscores chip cooperation between Korea, US

By Jo He-rim

Published : April 18, 2024 - 16:23

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SK hynix CEO Kwak Noh-jung (SK hynix) SK hynix CEO Kwak Noh-jung (SK hynix)

SK hynix Chief Executive Officer Kwak Noh-jung underscored the importance of cooperation between South Korea and the US, warning that it is "dangerous" to concentrate semiconductor supply chains in any one region, during his visit to Washington.

Speaking at the “Chips for America: Execute for Global Success” forum on Wednesday, Kwak also noted that SK hynix is working to develop highly advanced technologies to meet the growing needs in the artificial intelligence market. The event was organized by Purdue University and Indiana Sen. Todd Young.

His trip to the US follows the company's recent announcement to build an advanced chip packaging plant in West Lafayette, Indiana, where Purdue is located. The world's second-largest memory chip maker after Samsung Electronics said it will make a $3.87 billion investment to build an advanced chip packaging plant and a research facility in the region.

Addressing officials attending the event from the US government and global chip firms, including AMD, Nvidia, Intel and Samsung Electronics America, the SK hynix chief stressed that it is "dangerous" to concentrate the chip supply chain in one region, recalling a recent 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit powerhouse Taiwan and caused damages to chipmakers there.

Taiwan is home to top foundry TSMC, which produces about 92 percent of critical chips.

From its advanced chip facilities in Indiana, SK hynix plans to produce next-generation High Bandwidth Memory chips from the latter half of 2028. In the burgeoning generative artificial intelligence market, HBM has become a crucial component to support AI operation, speeding up the processes.

With nearby access to Purdue University, the company said it seeks to increase cooperation with the school and its semiconductor and microelectronics engineering programs, which are among the biggest in the US.

On SK's investment plan, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has promised special benefits and subsidies of up to $685.7 million, while the local community, including West Lafayette and the Purdue Research Foundation, is also expected to offer additional incentives.

The company additionally applied for a federal subsidy grant from the US Commerce Department.

At the event, Arati Prabhakar, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, delivered a speech on the Joe Biden administration's efforts to strengthen the chip supply chain with global partners around the world.