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Hynix, ProMOS expand DRAM partnership

Posted: 12 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:50nm process? DRAM? memory partnership?

Despite opposition from various entities in South Korea, Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Taiwan's ProMOS Technologies Inc. have expanded their ties.

Under the terms, Hynix plans to buy an 8-10 percent stake in ProMOS through private placement to strengthen their long-term cooperation.

Hynix will also license its 50nm, stack-capacitor process technology to ProMOS. DRAM maker ProMOS will offer capacity from its 300mm fab to Hynix.

''With the signing of the new strategic alliance agreement today, the relationship between Hynix and ProMOS will become much closer. Instead of being mere technology partner, Hynix will now become one of ProMOS's major shareholders,'' said Min-Liang Chen, chairman and president of ProMOS, in a statement.

The deal was expected. South Korean memory rival Hynix had been in talks to transfer its 54nm DRAM technology to ProMOS, its technology partner in Taiwan, according to reports.

But recently, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd blasted and opposed Hynix' proposed technology transfer to Taiwan's ProMOS, according to reports.

Hynix attempted to transfer 66nm chip technology to ProMOS, but several parties in Korea blocked the arrangement. Korea has a so-called ''Industrial Technology Drain Prevention Act,'' a law that stipulates 80nm or below semiconductor processes cannot be transferred outside the nation.

But Hynix is seeking to have this deal approvedand for good reason: It is trying to cut production costs and overall risks.

Hit hard by the memory downturn, Hynix recently posted a loss of $677.4 million in Q1, compared to a profit of $431.7 million a year ago. Sales were $1.6 billion in Q1, down 13 percent a year ago.

Hynix is also responding to rival Micron Technology Inc., which formed a DRAM technology alliance with Taiwan's Nanya Technology Corp. Micron, which hopes to leverage Nanya's capital, also announced a new fab in Boise, Idaho in the United States.

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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