The trade restrictions imposed by the US are preventing SK Hynix from upgrading its Chinese DRAM fab with EUV scanners. According to Reuters, the issue has drawn enough concern for chief executive Lee Seok-hee to raise the issue with US officials during a visit to Washington last July. On Monday, however, he told reporters that “it’s still a long way” before the Chinese semiconductor plant is ready to install the next-generation lithography tools.
The fab in Wuxi manufactures about half of SK Hynix’s DRAM chips, which equates to about 15 percent of the world total. Disruption of the Korean memory maker’s production plans would therefore have a major impact on the DRAM market. Furthermore, it could put SK Hynix at a disadvantage with respect to its competitors, Samsung and Micron.
Last February, SK Hynix signed a 5-year procurement contract worth 4.3 billion dollars with ASML to secure EUV scanners.