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Samsung Electronics chairman warns of stormy chip market

Fabs are the answer
Fri Sep 23 2011, 14:24

CHIPMAKER Samsung has warned of an "intensifying storm" in the chip business as it opened a new fabrication plant.

Kun-hee Lee, chairman of Samsung Electronics painted a gloomy picture while receiving the first wafer baked out of its Line 16 plant, saying, "The global semiconductor industry is in a period of fierce cyclical volatility." Lee went on to say that the plant showed Samsung's commitment to the memory industry, which perhaps was a swipe at rival DRAM outfits that are looking to get out of the business.

Lee continued by saying that expansion is the way Samsung can remain the biggest player in the memory business in these difficult times. "We must prepare for an intensifying storm in the semiconductor industry by further enhancing our technological capabilities and expertise in order to maintain our leadership position," said Lee.

Samsung's Line 16 is the Korean chip giant's first 20nm DDR3 fab and eventually it should turn out 10,000 12-inch wafers every month. The firm also said it will start production of 10nm class NAND flash chips next year.

The memory market has been down on its luck in the last few quarters. Hynix has been on the lookout for a buyer, but back in July another memory firm, Hyundai pulled out of a deal to buy Hynix.

Samsung has maintained its number one memory vendor status despite the industry's woes and supplies many companies with its chips. Its new Line 16 memory chip shop should further cement its strong position. µ


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