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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Samsung Unveils New Chip

SEOUL, South Korea -- The South Korean semiconductor maker Samsung Electronics announced Monday that it had developed the world's first 256-megabit DRAM chip, capable of storing 2,000 newspaper pages of data.


Samsung officials said that the move would give the company an edge in the lucrative memory-chip industry over Japanese and U.S. rivals such as Hitachi, NEC, Toshiba and IBM.


"We now provide about 20 percent of the world's memory-chip needs and aim to prolong our dominance by constantly staying ahead of our rivals," said Kim Sang-wook, Samsung's executive director.


A company spokesman said Samsung has invested $150 million since early 1992 to develop the 256-megabit dynamic random access memory chip, or DRAM.


"In August 1992, Samsung was the world's first to complete the development of a 64-megabit DRAM chip, and just two years later the company did the same with a 256-megabit DRAM," he said.


Company officials credited a memory-chip sales boom for Samsung Electronics' 400 percent profit jump in the first six months of this year to $357 million over the same 1993 period.


About 95 percent of Samsung Electronics' $3.22 billion semiconductor turnover came from overseas sales last year, when the company reported a loss in non-semiconductor business.


"The non-semiconductor business of our company will not make a loss this year but most of the profit this year will come from the memory chip operation," said Moon Byung-dae, senior managing director in charge of the home electronics division.


Samsung also makes televisions, video tape recorders, cameras, laser disc players, computers, air conditioners, refrigerators and telecommunications systems. Kim, who is heading a team developing new chip technology, said semiconductor sales were expected to rise to $4.3 billion this year from $3.4 billion last year.


Samsung, the world's largest producer of memory chips, does not, however, make either 64-megabit or 256-megabit DRAM chips presently as commercial demand is still for less sophisticated 16-megabit DRAM chips, which can store up to 128 newspaper pages of information each.


"We have facilities to produce 2 million units of 16-megabit chips now and another plant of that capacity will be launched later this year," Kim said. The production equipment can easily be converted to make 64-megabit chips.


Samsung plans to invest $1.6 billion in production facilities this year, up 78 percent from 1993.


Chin Dae-je, general manager in Samsung's memory business division, said his company was about five years behind its rivals when it first developed a 64,000-bit memory chip in 1983.


"The gap narrowed to two years for one megabit chips, six months for four megabit chips and we are now ahead of any other world producer," Chin said.


(Reuters, AP)