Recovering memory markets fuels SK hynix revenue growth

SK Hynix Icheon campus

SK hynix grew revenues in the final calendar quarter of 2023, the first growth for one and a half years, as memory buyers returned to the market.

The company recorded krw 11.3 trillion ($8.46 billion) in the quarter, 46.9 percent higher than a year ago. There was a loss of krw 1.4 trillion ($1.0 billion), much reduced from the year-ago loss of krw 3.5 trillion ($2.6 billion). SK actually reported an internally measured operating profit – krw 346 billion ($259 million), its first for four quarters. Full year revenues were krw 32.8 trillion ($24.5 billion) with a loss of krw 9.1 trillion ($6.8 billion), SK hynix’s first annual loss in at least seven years. It’s been a severe downturn.

VP and CFO Kim Woohyun stated: “We achieved a remarkable turnaround, marking the first operating profit in the fourth quarter following a protracted downturn, thanks to our technological leadership in the AI memory space.” 

In his view: “We are now ready to grow into a total AI memory provider by leading changes and presenting customized solutions as we enter an era for a new leap forward.”

SK hynix said overall memory market conditions improved in the last quarter of 2023 with demand for AI server and mobile applications increasing and average selling price (ASP) rising. Sales of its main products, DDR5 and HBM3 (used in GPU servers), increased by more than four and five times, respectively, compared with a year earlier. 

It will now proceed with mass production of HBM3E, a main AI memory product, and ongoing development of HBM4, while supplying high-performance, high-capacity products such as DDR5 and LPDDR5T to server and mobile markets, to meet increasing demand for high-performance DRAM. 

SK hynix will also prepare high-capacity server module MCRDIMM ((Multiplexer Combined Ranks Dual In-line Memory Module) and mobile module LPCAMM2 (Low Power Compression Attached Memory Module 2)  to respond to increasing memory demand due to AI server and on-device AI adoption.

Recovery in the NAND market is relatively slower and SK hynix said it would continue to improve profitability and stabilize the business by expanding sales of premium products such as eSSD. The GenAI boom is driving server, and hence memory, sales. As Seagate reported yesterday, any AI fillip for storage has still to come, although storage suppliers are confident it is coming.