Micron Inc., a major player in the memory chip industry, announced on June 5th its strategic plan to achieve an HBM market share of approximately 20-25% by the year 2025, a target that aligns with its current DRAM market share. This bold statement has added competitive pressure on other HBM market leaders such as SK Hynix and Samsung.

According to reports from BusinessKorea, SK Hynix, a Korean DRAM giant, began mass production and delivery of its 8-layer stacked HBM3E products in March and announced in April the acceleration of its 12-layer HBM3E development, aiming to supply samples in May and mass-produce in the third quarter of the year. This move is believed to be a response to Micron's aggressive HBM strategy.

Micron has reported overwhelming demand for its HBM products, with sales for 2024 already fully booked and the majority of 2025 supply pre-allocated. In its third-quarter financial results call, Micron revealed that its fifth-generation HBM (HBM3E) revenue exceeded $100 million and projected potential annual HBM revenue in the billions for the next fiscal year.

In response to the robust market demand for HBM, Micron has increased its capital expenditure for fiscal year 2024 from $7.5 to $8 billion, primarily to invest in HBM production capacity. With a current 9% market share in HBM, Micron is considering converting its Malaysian factory into an HBM dedicated production line and expanding its Taichung HBM production line. Its new Hiroshima factory in Japan is set to become an HBM production base, solidifying its position as a major supplier in the HBM market.

As the demand for high-performance computing, AI applications, and GPUs continues to grow, so does the competition in the HBM market. Micron's strategic moves and advancements in HBM technology are shaping up to be a formidable challenge for SK Hynix and Samsung.

In anticipation of Micron's aggressive stance, Samsung, which has yet to receive certification from Nvidia for its HBM3E products, aims to complete the certification for its 8-layer stacked HBM products in the third quarter and 12-layer HBM products in the fourth quarter. Samsung's contribution is crucial for the global HBM market supply, with plans to increase its HBM supply more than threefold this year and more than double in 2025. Samsung has already provided samples of its 12-layer HBM and plans to mass-produce 12-layer HBM3E in 2025.

SK Hynix, currently holding 53% of the global HBM market share, has advanced its plan to mass-produce the sixth generation of 12-layer stacked HBM (HBM4) from 2026 to 2025. The company is establishing an integrated HBM production line at its M15x factory in Cheongju, South Korea, including EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) equipment, with completion expected in 2025 and operations to commence in the third quarter of 2026.

In a significant move, the SK Group announced on June 30 that its subsidiary SK Hynix will invest 103 trillion KRW (approximately $74.7 billion USD) to further strengthen its AI memory chip business by 2028. It is reported that about 80% of this investment, amounting to 82 trillion KRW, will be allocated to the development of high-bandwidth memory (HBM) chips to support the advancement of AI chip technology.

This competitive landscape signifies a new era of innovation and investment in the HBM market, with major players gearing up to capture a larger share of a market driven by the insatiable demand for faster and smarter memory solutions.