SK Hynix, the world’s second-largest memory chip provider, announced Thursday it will invest a total of 120 trillion won ($106.65 billion) to build four fabrication lines at a new semiconductor industrial complex in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province.
A special purpose company set up by SK Engineering & Construction and multiple financial investors has submitted a letter of intent for the investment to the city of Yongin, joining forces to help create a fresh cluster for chipmakers’ research and development centers and production facilities.
The chip fabrication plants will be built on a 4.5 million square meter site south of Seoul beginning 2022, complementing two existing domestic factories that will receive a separate 55 trillion won ($49 billion) investment over the next decade. The latter investment will be used for contractors under coprosperity programs aimed at developing chips needed for artificial intelligence. Of the amount, 300 billion won will be injected to create funds, 638 billion won to establish an AI-based cooperation center and promote relevant programs, and 280 billion won for joint research and development projects.
The company plans to maintain the headquarters and fab for DRAM in Icheon, and make the Cheongju fab a NAND flash-focused facility and the upcoming fabs in Yongin for next-generation memory chips.
The plan intensifies an arms race between South Korea, the world’s biggest exporter of memory chips, and China, which has been aggressively encouraging chipmaking investment to curb reliance on imports amid a trade spat with the United States.