Samsung Electronics names new chief for semiconductor business as AI chip race heats up

Technology

Samsung is the world’s biggest maker of memory chips.
Jakub Porzycki | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Samsung Electronics named a new head for its semiconductor business on Tuesday, as the firm strives to lead the AI chip race.

Young Hyun Jun will replace Kyehyun Kyung, who will now head the future business division, which focuses on discovering new growth opportunities, as well as Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology.

The firm aims “to strengthen its competitiveness amid an uncertain global business environment,” Samsung Electronics said, adding that Jun has extensive experience leading the company’s memory and battery manufacturing divisions.

Samsung is in intense competition with SK Hynix to produce the most advanced memory chips in the market to ride the AI wave. The memory chip market is currently dominated by Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron — the world’s top three suppliers.

SK Hynix has been leading on the high-bandwidth memory front, having been the sole supplier of HBM3 chips to Nvidia, which is at the forefront of AI chips. Nvidia is reportedly considering Samsung as a supplier too.

“We expect the competition in high-bandwidth memory to intensify in 2025. For the HBM3 generation, SK Hynix is the exclusive supplier to Nvidia, and we believe there were a few quarters of technology gaps between SK Hynix and Samsung,” Kazunori Ito, director of equity research at Morningstar, said in a report earlier this month.

SK Hynix plans to begin mass production of its latest generation of high-bandwidth memory chips, the 12-layer HBM3E, in the third quarter, while Samsung Electronics aims to do the same within the second quarter, having been the first in the industry to ship samples of the latest chip.

“[This suggests] that Samsung is quickly closing the gap in the technology roadmap. As a result, we expect that all three major suppliers will be able to ship HBM3E to Nvidia, intensifying the price competition,” Ito said.

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