SK hynix to source domestically produced neon gas for chip manufacturing
SK hynix will source domestically-produced neon gas to make its chip products as stable delivery of the essential element in chip manufacturing remains uncertain in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.
The Icheon, Gyeonggi-based chipmaker said Wednesday that it will increase the portion of the neon gas processed in Korea to 100 percent by 2024, from the current 40 percent.
The primary local suppliers include Posco, the country’s largest steelmaker, and TEMC, a local rare gas supplier.
Before making the commitment, Korean chipmakers had mainly relied on foreign suppliers for neon gas. SK hynix is the first Korean chipmaker making chips based on domestically-produced neon gas, according to the chipmaker.
Ukraine is a leading exporter of neon gas, the purified form of which is used to etch circuit designs into silicon wafers to create chips. The eastern European country accounted for 23 percent of the neon gas imported into Korea last year, according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
Ukraine delivers 70 percent of the world’s supply, according to market tracker TrendForce.
As the war disrupted the supply chain of the gas, local chipmakers started exploring alternative ways to secure the key element.
SK hynix plans to localize a wider range of original materials including xenon and krypton.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [email@example.com]