SK Hynix to break ground for state-backed advanced Yongin memory fab in 1Q25

Jessica Tsai, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: AFP

SK Hynix is slated to officially break ground in March 2025 for a new advanced memory plant in Yongin, South Korea.

The South Korean government has decided to step in to support the company in solving land acquisition and water supply issues. According to a report by ZDNet Korea, South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry, and Energy Ahn Duk-geun recently toured SK Hynix's Yongin semiconductor complex, gathering insights and addressing challenges faced by the project.

The first phase of construction is scheduled to commence in March 2025, aiming for the completion of the cleanroom facility by 2027. Once operational, the Yongin facility will stand as SK Hynix's flagship production site for DRAM and net-generation memory chips, doubling as a hub for collaborative research and development efforts.

Originally announced in 2019, the Yongin semiconductor complex, with an estimated investment of KRW120 trillion (US$94.8 billion), was initially planned for completion by 2026. However, the project encountered hurdles, including challenges in land acquisition and disputes over water usage with local authorities.

The turning point came in March 2022 with the inauguration of President Yun Seok-yul, followed by SK Hynix's resolution of water usage disputes through the "Yongin Semiconductor Industry Cluster Cooperation" agreement in November 2022. This breakthrough paved the way for the project's advancement.

In a bid to bolster the infrastructure supporting the Yongin complex, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE) took proactive measures, establishing a power supply task force (TF) in February 2024 and forming a strategic support department for advanced semiconductor parks the following month.

During discussions with industry leaders, MOTIE Minister Ahn Duk-geun reaffirmed the government's commitment to timely infrastructure development, technological advancement, and export expansion. He also vowed to strengthen the ecosystems of semiconductor materials, components, equipment, and IC design.

Ahn emphasized that South Korea's strategy for semiconductor supremacy crucially depends on "speed" and that interdepartmental collaborations are badly needed to keep South Korean companies competitive. He also pledged active government support to reach the semiconductor export target of US$120 billion in 2024.