Shown above are the industry’s most advanced 238-layered NAND flash memory products of SK hynix. The firm started its mass production. Photo courtesy of SK hynix

Industry’s most advanced product will hit the market

South Korea’s SK hynix announced on July 8 that the world’s second-largest memory chip maker had started mass production of the industry’s highest 238-layer 4D NAND flash memory.

The company noted that the 238-layer product, the smallest NAND in size, had a 34 percent higher manufacturing efficiency compared to the previous norm of a 176-layer product.

It has a data-transfer speed of 2.4Gb per second, a 50 percent improvement from the previous generation and about 20 percent increase in read and write speed.

SK hynix expected that smartphone and PC customers would want such improved performance.

SK hynix developed the 96-layer product in 2018 and increased the number of layers over the past several years to reach the 176-layer technology in late 2020.

“We will continue to overcome NAND technology limitations and increase our competitiveness so that we can achieve a bigger turnaround than anyone else during the upcoming market rebound,” SK hynix Executive Vice President Kim Jum-soo said.

Observers point out that SK hynix will try to catch up with business leaders in the NAND market.

According to business consultancy TrendForce, Samsung Electronics was a leader in the NAND market with 33.8 percent share, followed by Kioxia with 19.1 percent and SK hynix with 17.1 percent.

“The competition would become quite stiff in the NAND flash market because SK hynix is improving its technology,” Prof. Han Tae-hee at Seoul’s Syungkyunkwan University said.

“Against the challenges, Samsung Electronics and Kioxia will by no means sit idle. More advanced technologies will continue to hit the market.”

A DRAM memory chip is faster than a NAND flash product. But the latter can store more data than DRAM in the same physical space thanks to its high scalability and density.

Kevin Chung studied literature in Seoul. He is interested in various areas. He can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.