Friday, November 18, 2022
Samsung Electronics Co. will add a new fab every year to keep its lead in chipmaking and scale up foundry to enhance the consigned business to its dominant mass-market memory rank, Korea’s chipmaker said defying the industrial down cycle and economic uncertainties.
he IT giant plans to generate demand for next-generation compute express link (CXL) memory chips as part of its business strategy it unveiled at a form in Singapore recently.
The company can add a new fab each year under so-called ‘Shell-First’ strategy that allows the company to set up a clean room first, which typically takes six months to build, and then build production facilities depending on market demand later.
Samsung Electronics plans to increase its foundry production capacity by 3.4 times by using this method.
“We plan to aggressively expand the fab as demand is high,” said Sim Sang-pil, head of corporate planning for foundry businesses at Samsung Electronics.
Samsung Electronics has formed plans to focus on CXL DRAM, 3D IC DRAM and memory-as-a-service operations to maintain its market leading position in the memory business. CXL is a technology that enables direct communications between devices by integrating multiple interfaces into one that dramatically expands bandwidth and capacity by sharing memory. It is in talks with global tech companies to partner in various areas such as central processing units, servers and software.
3D IC package is a technology that makes a single package by stacking different types of chips on a wafer. In the past, CPU and memory were installed separately but if implemented in one package, data movement can be accelerated and the transmission speed can be improved.
Samsung Electronics has decided to aggressively invest in its semiconductor business as global companies have spent 35 percent of their profits on facilities in the last 10 years, compared with 67 percent in 2007, indicating eased competition from a decade ago.
But it expects DRAM demand will continue growing as data increases to the size of zettabyte, which is about 1 trillion gigabytes, and chips for automobiles are expected to accelerate.
The company also said the global memory market has been grappling with a supply shortage for a decade since 2013.
“Demand for DRAM will continue to rise in four areas - data center, mobile, game and vehicle,” said Han Jin-man, executive vice president and head of memory global sales and marketing at Samsung Electronics.
Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor production capacity will double once the lines under construction in South Korea’s Pyeongtaek and Texas go into operations. The company expects to add facilities in the scale of combined new Pyeongtaek and Texas operations by 2027.
The company anticipates the number of consignment customers will increase rapidly. In the foundry business, securing customers is as important as competing in technology. While Samsung Electronics has narrowed the gap with TSMC technically, it is seen to be falling behind in terms of customer numbers. However, things have turned around, and with the improvement in both yield and technology, Samsung Electronics is expected to secure more clients.
“By 2027, the number of customers will increase more than five times,” Sim forecast.
Samsung Electronics expects significant growth in foundry customers, especially in the U.S. By 2027, the Asian foundry market is projected to increase six-fold, while sales in the U.S. is estimated to surge more than 12-fold.
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