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August 2, 1999

Samsung Starts Work on 256MB DRAM Plant

By CBR Staff Writer

Samsung Electronics Co has brought forward its schedule for going into mass production of 256MB DRAM chips and has begun the construction of a $1.8bn facility which it had originally planned to begin building next year. The new facility will be Samsung’s tenth DRAM production line. We moved up the schedule to benefit from the initial market for the profitable high-density 256MB memory chip, said a company official. The sooner memory chipmakers can make the switch from 64MB chips, the current mainstay, to 256MB chips, the earlier they can ship a higher proportion of chips at premium prices, he said.

Samsung has already begun shipping the high-capacity memory chips, though in small quantities, from its recently opened ninth production line, using advanced 0.18-micron process technology. But the tenth line will feature state of the art 0.13-micron process technology for the first time anywhere, he said, as well as other highly advanced technologies such as photolithography.

Samsung had earlier said it plans to ship up to 1.5 million 256MB DRAM chips by the end of this year and increase production to 5 million units by 2000. Initially the company expects the new chips to sell at $400 each. Analysts predict the global 256MB DRAM chip market will reach $3bn in 2000 and expand to $10bn by the end of 2001.

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