SK hynix, the world’s No. 2 memory chip maker, looks to expand into the non-memory semiconductor market by tapping into an emerging market for a variety of system-on-chips for autonomous driving.
“SK hynix is (confidentially) conducting research and developing non-memory chips for vehicles,” Park Jung-ho, chief executive officer of parent company SK Telecom told The Korea Herald at the sidelines of the SKT’s press conference at CES 2019.
Asked about what kind of non-memory semiconductors are needed for automobiles, Park said, “The ones SK hynix are developing technologically go beyond application processors,” hinting that they could include the most cutting-edge SoCs such as graphics processing units and neural processing unit processors that are core chips for self-driving cars.
SK Telecom, which holds the 20.07 percent of SK hynix’ shares, has announced a governance restructuring plan for later this year. SK Telecom is set to divide up its current business units -- mobile network operator, media, comerce and security -- as independent subsidiaries and set up an intermediary financial holding company.
“In order to increase its market share for vehicle semiconductors, SK hynix is doing R&D not only for memory but also for non-memory,” he explained.
SK hynix is seeking collaborations or strategic partnerships with fabless non-memory companies such as Nvidia, Park noted.
SK hynix is participating in the Consumer Electronics Show for the first time this week joining its counterparts from other SK Group affiliates. Under the 'SK Innovative Mobility' SK Group's companies are jointly presentating their for autonomous driving technologies and solutions.
SK Innovation exhibits its electric vehicle battery and the LiBS (Li-ion battery separator) battery material. In addition, a transparent PI film 'FCW (Flexible Cover Window)', which is considered to be the core material of the folder block, is also introduced.
SK Telecom is showcasing autonomous driving technologies such as single-photon LiDAR and HD map update.
At the show, SK hynix is in charge of the memory chips for autonomous cars. The company has on display automotive DRAM and NAND flash, which are essential for autonomous driving, ADAS, infotainment and telematics, based on the concept of "Memory-Centric Mobility." The company showcases DRAM, HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) and Enterprise SSDs for vehicle-to-data center communication and data analysis.
SK Telecom President Park Chung-ho and other executives will meet at CES with global companies to promote cooperation in the 5G era.