Begins expansion of fab M15X in Cheongju next month
Expecting a rebound in the memory industry in 2025
“Securing the foundation for future growth in the next 10 years”

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<Map of SK Hynix’s Cheongju plant production facility complex>

In Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, SK Hynix will invest KRW 15 trillion over the next five years to construct a new semiconductor production plant ‘M15X'. Despite being concerned over slow-growing semiconductor market, SK Hynix will secure future growth driver through preemptive investments. SK Hynix will consider the condition of semiconductor market, and decide the date to begin construction for the M17, whose investment has been put on hold.

On the 6th, SK Hynix announced that it would build M15X (eXtension), an M15 expansion plant (fab) in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province. It will utilize the land that it already secured, and begin construction earlier than planned. In October, the M15X construction will begin on Cheongju Technopolis Industrial Complex with the size of 60,000 square meters. The fab is a two-story structure, similar in size to the existing Cheongju M11 and M12 plants combined. M15X is targeted to be completed by early 2025. It is located next to M15 that produced NAND flash. SK Hynix has built additional facilities in the M15 idle space this year.

SK Hynix's decision is interpreted as a response to the memory semiconductor market demand and a result of recognizing the need to expand production capacity. Despite showing slowing growth signs in the semiconductor market from the economic downturn this year, SK Hynix is making an attempt to take the lead in the market through bold preemptive investments.

Jung-ho Park, Vice Chairman of SK Hynix said, “Looking back on the past 10 years, SK Hynix could grow into a world-class company was due to making bold investments that looked to the future in the midst of crisis. The start of the M15X construction will be the first step in securing the foundation for future growth to prepare for next 10 years.”

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Even though demand for memory semiconductors declined rapidly, it was analyzed that the market recovery is expected in 2024 as the cycle of fluctuations in the industry is shortened, and the expectation for a rebound in 2025 was crucial to making the investment.

SK Hynix has increased competitiveness in the memory semiconductor market through preemptive investments in the midst of an uncertain business condition. Despite being in a deficit in 2012, SK Hynix significantly increased its investment by more than 10% compared to the previous year, when investment in the semiconductor industry continued to decline. The company succeeded in turning to a profit at the end of that year. Then, it built Icheon M14 in 2015, when the semiconductor market was looking hopeless. However, this served as the basis for the achievement of record-high performance for two years from 2017.

SK Hynix was incorporated into the SK group in 2012, and it continued to invest for 10 years on the 'future vision' that it declared in 2015. It invested a total of KRW 46 trillion since 2014, and shared a vision to build three additional plants, including the Icheon M14. The vision came to reality sooner by completing the Cheongju M15 in 2018 and the Icheon M16 in 2021. However, SK Hynix is determining the start date of the construction by comprehensively considering the business environment such as the semiconductor market for the new M17 plant. SK Hynix has been reviewing the plan to build the M17 on a 433,000 square meter site by 2025.

By Staff Reporter Dong-joon Kwon (