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October 12, 1999

Korean Chip Makers Speed Up Shift To 128MB

By CBR Staff Writer

Korea’s top semiconductor manufacturers have decided to speed up the switchover to next-generation 128MB DRAM chips due to the rising prices of the now-standard 64MB memory chips, which for the past few weeks have consistently cost more than twice the unit price of the larger-capacity chips.

Samsung Electronics Co, until now the top 64MB DRAM chip maker, plans to raise its 128MB DRAM production to 10 million units per month by year-end from the current 4 million. Hyundai Electronics Industries Co and Hyundai MicroElectronics Co, which this week merge into a single firm, will also more than double their 128MB output to 10 million chips by the end of the year.

Earlier in the year HEI had been working on a later generation shift than Samsung, but the recent price rises, exacerbated by the Taiwan earthquake last month, have changed the company’s plans. The transfer to 128MB DRAM fabrication requires less additional investment than the previous generation shift from 16MB to 64MB memory chips, which required replacement of production lines rather than recalibration of existing facilities.

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