Bloomberg News

Hynix, Toshiba Form Alliance to Develop New Memory Device

July 13, 2011

(Updates with analyst comment in fourth paragraph.)

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Toshiba Corp., the world’s second-largest makers of computer-memory and flash-memory chips respectively, agreed to collaborate on developing next-generation storage devices.

The companies will set up a joint venture to produce a new type of memory chips called Spin-Transfer Torque Magnetoresistance Random Access Memory, or STT-MRAM, they said in a statement today. While the companies didn’t disclose the size of investment, Hynix said the partnership will be its biggest alliance since a joint project with STMicroelectronics NV to build a $2 billion plant in China.

The devices, capable of storing information without the use of electricity and processing data at “ultra-high speed,” will first be used in mobile devices that require low power consumption, the companies said. High production costs for the chips, which alleviate the shortcomings of DRAM and NAND flash, mean it may take years before they become mainstream, said Seo Won Seok, an analyst at NH Securities Co. in Seoul.

“There are many limitations to mass production,” Seo said by telephone. In the short term, “they can’t match the economics and efficiency of DRAM and NAND flash,” he said.

DRAM, widely used in personal computers to help run multiple programs at the same time, stores data only when there is power. While NAND flash, used in such portable gadgets as MP3 players and digital cameras, can save data without power, it operates more slowly than DRAM.

--Editors: Dave McCombs, Lena Lee

To contact the reporters on this story: Jun Yang in Seoul at jyang180@bloomberg.net; Shinhye Kang in Seoul at skang24@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net


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