It has been confirmed that a key executive in charge of design at Samsung Electronics’ Memory Business Division has resigned from the position to join a Chinese DRAM manufacturer. News on Samsung shifting production to China has been regularly circulated but it is the first time the career movement of an executive to China is heard. The fact has been validated and Samsung Electronics has expressed great concern about the impact it may bring to the subordinates.
According to industry insiders on 31 Oct 2018, Kim from SDI quit his job early this year and recently moved to Hefei Changxin(Innotron), a Chinese DRAM company stationed in Shanghai, where the headquarter of its DRAM design division is. Born in 1967, Kim led the design team in Samsung Electronics' Memory Business Division and was promoted to director taking charge of memory development in 2011.
He furthered his profession into DRAM development in 2013 and played an important role in the memory strategy marketing team in 2015. Awarded by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Award for his contribution in developing state-of-the-art DRAM at a semiconductor day event on 30 Oct 2015, he was also involved largely in the marketing and product strategy team of Samsung SDI. He abruptly resigned early this year citing personal reasons.
Hefei Changxin (Innotron), where Kim has joined, emerged with two other major domestic players, namely Fujian Jin Hua Integrated Circuit (JHICC) and Tsinghua Unigroup, to embark on the development of memory, mainly the DRAM. With the investment of $8 billion to build a production plant in Anhui Province, the company’s base for DRAM technology derived from Inotera (now Micron) in Taiwan. It is claimed that the company stole trade secret on 20-nano DRAM technology from Inotera upon resignation of its former vice president, David Liu.
The actual width of the technology is approximately 23 nanometers compared to the die-per-wafer calculation by Samsung Electronics. Hefei Changxin named this technology, 19 nano.
Rumour has it that Samsung Electronics recently made about 10% yield by easing its own test standards, but it is also an urgent quest to apply faulty test standards since a report has to be submitted to the central government, according to industry experts.
Hefei Changxin is planning to start a new development project through Kim, also a former head of M10 (a DRAM production line) of SK Hynix. “SK Hynix is now closely observing its former personnel as well as China’s action on any potential recruitment", said a high-ranking officer of semiconductor material industry.