The South Korean conglomerate SK Group is all set to launch a new ICT technology development and investment body. The three subdivisions of SK Group, including SK Hynix, SK Square and SK Telecom, have formed the new body, which will be called SK ICT Alliance.
Sapeon Inc. is the first investment project under the label of SK ICT Alliance. With these co-investments in the US, the three companies aim to target the growing AI chip market.
SK Hynix CEO Part Jung-ho announced the launch of SK ICT Alliance at a press conference held on Thursday. The event addressed the sidelines of Consumer Electronics Show 2022, held at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Park Jungo-ho is also the CEO of SK Square, the investment arm of SK Group, spun off from SK telecom in Nov last year.
While SK Square is primarily into investments, SK Hynix is known for its expertise in chip production and SK Telecom in telecommunications. The trio will be offering its expertise to meet the growing demands of the global chips market. The investments are likely to be made keeping the developing 5G and AI industries.
According to the announcement, the trio will be investing $41.5 million combined. SK Telecom will hold 62.5% stakes, SK Hynix will have 25%, while SK Square will hold 12.5% stakes in the newly formed company.
“Sapeon Inc. will serve as SK’s outpost to expand its AI chip business and target global big tech companies based in the US as clients,” SK officials quoted at the conference. While discussing further development of the company, the officials added, “Sapeon Inc. will allow SK to secure abundant chip development personnel in the US and foreign investments. Sapeon Korea will be Sapeon Inc.’s subsidiary and be in charge of Korean and Asian markets.”
SK Telecom had developed an AI chip in 2020, which was called Sapeon. The new company has got the name from the same AI chip, say the officials.
The chip production typically requires high-speed calculations processed to enable AI. Besides, the electricity consumed by GPU and graphics processing units is one of the concerns in chip production. However, the chip produced under the new project will consume 20% less power while commuting at a 1.5 faster.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. presently manufactures the chips offered under the newly developed Sapeon project. Ryu Soo-Jung, vice president and head of AI accelerator at SK Telecom, believes that TSMC will continue the contract for the next Sapeon model as well.