Samsung fires its chip boss on the spot. Here’s why – ZDNET

Samsung just announced the change of director of its electronic chip division. The South Korean tech giant said it has appointed Jun Young-hyun as head of its Device Solutions (DS) division. This is a “precautionary measure” aimed at strengthening the future competitiveness of its semiconductors, Samsung explains.

The new leader is expected to use his expertise to overcome the “semiconductor crisis,” the company added.

This replacement is quite unusual. Samsung usually announces management changes towards the end of the year. Although the company did not specify what the semiconductor crisis was, it is likely that it was referring to the stiff competition facing its memory business, its most profitable unit.

Demand for the HBM chip has exploded over the past two years

Samsung remains the world’s largest maker of memory chips, well ahead of rivals SK Hynix and Micron. However, Samsung is losing to domestic rival SK Hynix in the area of ​​high-bandwidth memory (HBM).

Demand for the HBM chip has exploded over the past two years due to the artificial intelligence (AI) boom. This chip is seen as a new source of growth for memory manufacturers. SK Hynix is ​​currently Nvidia’s main HBM3E supplier for its AI chips.

Samsung reports a 900% jump in operating profit for the first quarter of this year. But that couldn’t have been too comfortable, as the jump is more related to the cyclical nature of the memory chip market and signals the start of a recovery after two years of slowdown.

Closing the gap on SK Hynix

A Samsung veteran, Jun, 64, is known as a technology specialist at the South Korean tech giant. And she was responsible for breakthroughs in DRAM and NAND. His appointment can be seen as a return to basics, namely a focus on technological advancement.

The HBM consists of several vertically stacked DRAM dies. So, Jun’s primary goal will be to narrow the gap in this product category with SK Hynix and overcome them over the years. Samsung announced in February that it had developed the 12-layer HBM3E ahead of its competitors.

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