SK Hynix Inc., the world's No. 2 memory chip maker, will begin mass production of 3D NAND chips with 72 layers of data-storing memory cells in the second half of next year for the first time in the world.
According to foreign news reports and semiconductor industry sources on December 26, SK Hynix started mass production of 48-layer 3D NAND chips from last month. The company plans to complete the development of the 72-layer 3D NAND chips in the first half of next year and mass produce them at its plant in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, in the second half.
Currently, global semiconductor companies are competitively stacking layers of NAND chips. Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chip maker and a leader in the production of 3D NAND flash memory, declared to mass produce 64-layer 3D NAND chips as the next-generation V-NAND solutions in the fourth quarter of this year at the Flash Memory Summit held in Santa Clara, California, USA, in August. Then, Toshiba, the runner-up in the market, also officially announced to mass produce 64-layer 3D NAND chips.
The global market for NAND flash memory chips is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44 percent from 2015 to 2020.
As a competition for stacking more layers in 3D NAND chips between semiconductor businesses intensifies, the "tera era" of ultra large data storage is said to have dawned. One terabyte equals to 1,000 gigabytes and 1 trillion bytes.
The 72-layer chips, which has three times higher layers, will be developed in just four years after the first 24-layer NAND chip was released in 2013. SK Hynix has adopted the strategy to go straight to the 72-layer chips, which has 1.13 times more layers than the 62-layer chips, which have the highest accumulate rates at the moment.