SK Hynix built a new semiconductor factory that produces NAND flash memories in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province and held a completion ceremony on Oct. 4.
The new production line will start a full-scale operation within the first quarter of next year.
SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won said in a completion ceremony that the new plant, dubbed M15, will contribute to maintaining the competitiveness of the Korean semiconductor industry by making world-class technological innovations.
The ceremony was attended by President Moon Jae-in, Finance Minister Kim Don-yeon, Trade and Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo and other well-wishers.
"I think we owe the country and the community a lot in completing M15," Chey said, adding that SK Group, including the chipmaker, will continue to make more contributions to society.
SK Hynix keeps the annual production capacity of M15 a secret. Yet industry analysts estimate that the plant’s production capacity will be similar to that of the M14 plant in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province.
The double-decker production line of M14 produces up to 100,000 sheets per month on each layer, so the maximum production capacity of the M15 line is expected to be around 200,000 per month.
SK Hynix is planning to spend about 20 trillion won on the plant, including the 2.2 trillion won investment already made to build it.
The new plant boasts a size of 60,000 square meters, which is equivalent to eight football fields put together. It is 339 meters long, 172 meters wide and 71 meters high.
SK Group officially announced construction of M15 in December 2016. It started construction in April of last year and started bringing in equipment in August of this year.
The new plant will focus on production of NAND flash memories, improving SK Hynix's business structure that has been focused on DRAMs.
Although SK Hynix has the second largest global market share in the DRAM market, it ranks fifth in the NAND flash market.
The new plant will also create jobs. A Seoul National University research institute estimated that by 2023, M15 will generate 218,000 jobs, produce 70.9 trillion won worth of memory products and create 25.8 trillion won worth of added value.
About 160 business partners participated in building M15, and about 2.4 million people were hired, SK Hynix said.
After the opening ceremony, Minister Sung held a job committee meeting at the plant to discuss ways to create jobs through the semiconductor business.
"Demand for memories will continue to grow amid the spread of the technologies that lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Although expanding the supply of semiconductors will not be as easy as before due to technical difficulties, we will exert our best efforts to meet the growing demand." an SK Hynix official said.