SK Hynix Partners with TSMC to Build Sixth-Gen HBM4 Chips

South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc. announced on Friday its team-up with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) Ltd., the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer, to build sixth-generation memory chips to meet the artificial intelligence (AI) industry’s vital need for the product.

SK Hynix stated that the partnership will focus on developing premium HBM4 high-bandwidth memory (HBM), due for mass production in 2026, and advanced packaging technologies.

The arrangement is set to combine the Icheon-based firm’s memory chip expertise with the Taiwanese company’s foundry expertise in creating new chips.

SK Hynix Strengthening HBM Capabilities

HBM chips, essential for AI computing, have become more in demand in recent months due to the AI evolution accelerating on the introduction of large language models (LLMs) such as OpenAI Inc.’s ChatGPT.

SK Hynix alone is currently building such advanced chips. The firm also has major US AI player Nvidia Corp. as a key client for its HBM memory used in the H100 AI graphic processing units (GPUs).

TSMC, another major supplier to Nvidia, has also strengthened on increased AI chip demand.

The company reported on Thursday first-quarter revenue and profit that beat expectations. However, it eased its outlook for the overall chip market, as consumer spending remained downbeat, warning of ongoing weakness in smartphone and personal-computing markets.

The South Korean chip maker expects the strategic collaboration to result in more innovations in HBM technology and breakthroughs in memory performance through ‘trilateral collaboration between product design, foundry, and memory provider.’

HBM competition has also intensified for the firm, with rivals Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Micron Technology Inc. hinting at starting the development of new AI-oriented products.

Samsung, the world’s no.2 foundry company after TSMC, looks to garner traction in the HBM4 market with a ‘turnkey strategy’, leveraging its memory semiconductor and foundry capabilities to thrive in the space consisting of advanced technology.

Still, SK Hynix expects its move to join forces with TSMC to help them gain momentum in open collaboration with customers and build the ‘best-performing’ HBM4.

The company also sees the team-up further reinforcing its position as the leading AI memory provider by fueling competitiveness in the custom memory space.

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