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Hynix beefs up China, Taiwan business links

Posted: 11 Mar 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Taiwan joint venture? China fab? memory chips? DRAM?

South Korean memory maker Hynix Semiconductor Inc. is expanding its operations in China and Taiwan, according to wire reports. Hynix has invested $260 million in its China memory venture and is in talks to expand its DRAM ties with Taiwan's ProMOS Technologies Inc.

Wuxi fab expansion
Hynix said that it will invest an additional $260 million in its joint memory fab venture in Wuxi, China, according to Reuters. The funds are aimed to expand its capacity at the 300mm fab, according to the report.

The $2-billion fab was originally set up as a 50/50 venture with STMicroelectronics in 2004. But after the new investment, Hynix now owns a 77.44 percent stake.

Recently, ST and Intel Corp. formed a new NOR and NAND company, dubbed Numonyx. As part of the plan, ST shifted the fab venture in China over to Numonyx. But in the complex arrangement, Hynix is actually managing the fab venture.

Partner ProMOS
Meanwhile, in a separate deal, Hynix has been in talks to transfer its 54nm DRAM technology to ProMOS, its technology partner in Taiwan, according to a report from the Chosun Ilbo.

Hynix attempted to transfer 66nm chip technology to ProMOS, but several parties in Korea blocked the arrangement. ''The Industrial Technology Drain Prevention Act, a law that went into effect in 2007, stipulates that 80nm or lesser semiconductor technologies are key technologies that the country must protect,'' according to the report.

But Hynix is seeking to have this deal approvedand for good reason. ''Hynix is seeking to diversify its production base, including making products on commission at ProMOS, to cut costs and evade countervailing duties it has to pay if it directly exports goods to the U.S. or Europe,'' according to the South Korean newspaper.

Hynix is also responding to rival Micron Technology Inc., which this week formed a DRAM technology alliance with Taiwan's Nanya Technology Corp. Micron also announced a new fab in Boise, Idaho.

Japanese DRAM vendor Elpida Memory Inc. also has a partner in Taiwan. The company has a joint fab venture with Taiwan's Powerchip Semiconductor Corp.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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