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New Leadership Spotlight: Vice President Hoyoung Son Targets SK hynix’s Evolution Into Total AI Memory Provider Through Advanced Packaging Tech

By February 27, 2024 April 4th, 2024 No Comments

Vice President Hoyoung Son Targets SK hynix’s Evolution Into Total AI Memory Provider Through Advanced Packaging Tech

SK hynix has ramped up preparations for its evolution in the AI era with a new addition to its executive team. Hoyoung Son became the head of Advanced Package Development at the start of 2024 to strengthen the company’s leadership in packaging technology for HBM1, a key semiconductor for AI.

1High Bandwidth Memory (HBM): A high-value, high-performance product that revolutionizes data processing speeds over conventional DRAMs by vertically connecting multiple DRAMs with through-silicon via (TSV) technology. There are five generations of HBM, starting with the original HBM and followed by HBM2, HBM2E, HBM3, and HBM3E—an extended version of HBM3.

In 2023, Son received the distinguished Haedong Young Engineer Award2 for his contributions to the development of advanced packaging3 technology, which is also a key element for HBM products. In the fourth article of this interview series with recently appointed executives, Son spoke about his plans for the future and how he will adapt to such a big role in the AI era.

2Haedong Young Engineer Award: A prize presented at the annual Haedong Awards. Hosted by the Haedong Science and Culture Foundation, the awards recognize those who have made significant contributions to promote the growth and expansion of electronic engineering in South Korea.
3Advanced packaging: A solution that emerged to meet market requirements for high-performance products by resolving issues related to limits on wafer density technology.

“It was a special moment to become the first team leader to win the Haedong Young Engineer Award in 2023, which is usually awarded to executives,” he said. “This year, I have a greater sense of responsibility now that I am an executive. I will do my utmost to accomplish my goals in this new position.”

An Unwavering Spirit Sparking a Revolution in AI Semiconductor Memory

Son has been instrumental in the development of HBM, which has garnered significant attention in the semiconductor industry. He helped solidify the company’s leadership in AI memory technology by leading the development of TSV4, the core technology of HBM, as well as SK hynix’s proprietary MR-MUF5 from the early stages of their introduction.

4Through Silicon Via (TSV): A technology that drills thousands of microscopic holes in a DRAM chip and vertically connects silicon dies through electrodes.
5Mass Reflow-Molded Underfill (MR-MUF): The process of placing a liquid protective material between stacked chips while simultaneously hardening the chips and the surrounding circuitry. MR-MUF is considered to be more efficient than laying down a film-like material after each chip is stacked, and has exceptional heat dissipation capabilities.

Son claims his team’s perseverance will realize more breakthroughs in AI memorySon claims his team’s perseverance will realize more breakthroughs in AI memory


“Personally, I believe the most meaningful achievement was developing the first generation of HBM in 2013, which felt like going from zero to one,” he recalled. “Countless trials and risks couldn’t stop our efforts as we used these setbacks as lessons to come up with stronger solutions. Subsequently, we successfully developed the current fifth generation of HBM, HBM3E, and advanced packaging technology.”

Son thinks that the same unwavering spirit is needed in the AI era. As unforeseen challenges await in the future, it will be important to overcome them to achieve innovations.

“Just as SK hynix never gave up on developing HBM because we believed in its value, I will continue to develop the next generation of AI memory that will lead the rapidly changing AI era,” he added.

Evolving Into a Total AI Memory Provider

Son also thinks that SK hynix’s role in the AI age is gradually changing. He believes that the company should evolve from its current position as a supplier of semiconductors to become a total AI memory provider.

Son stresses the need to develop diverse AI memory products for AI technologySon stresses the need to develop diverse AI memory products for AI technology


“When we developed our advanced packaging technology in 2023, one division was responsible for integrating it with existing process technology. Although this approach can reduce trial and error in the early stages of development, it has flaws in terms of efficiency and expertise as the technology becomes more sophisticated and diverse,” he said. “Developing customer-specific AI memory requires a new approach as the flexibility and scalability of the technology becomes critical.”

Son stressed that as AI technology is being utilized in more areas, the hardware required to implement these technologies is also advancing in various ways. “To proactively respond to these changes, we plan to departmentalize our current divisions and enhance their expertise,” he explained.

“For different types of AI to be realized, the characteristics of AI memory also need to be more diverse,” he stated. “Our goal is to have a range of advanced packaging technologies to respond to the shifting technological landscape. Looking ahead, we plan to provide differentiated solutions to meet all customer needs.”

Building Solid Foundations for the Next Generation to Grow

As for his aspirations as a new executive, Son wants to create an environment for growth and development. More specifically, he wants the next generation of workers to have the opportunity to be creative, and emphasized the importance of working autonomously and extending their reach by having various exchanges with academic and industry experts.

“On top of securing immediate results, possessing a technological edge will be more important in the long run,” he explained. “When I was first developing TSV technology and HBM, working in an open environment that allowed me to communicate with academics and other experts was a huge asset to me.”

Son hopes to create the same work culture in his new division. “Although our current members are already highly qualified, I want to help them experience interactions with various external experts so they can become world-class engineers,” he said. “Most importantly, I want to create an environment and culture where people can work as they wish and grow together.”

Son underlines the importance of creating a work environment that encourages growth and happinessSon underlines the importance of creating a work environment that encourages growth and happiness


Concluding the interview, Son emphasized that employee happiness is paramount.

“I think happiness starts with understanding the value of life and contemplating ways to grow,” he said. “We have accomplished a lot so far, but if we stay on course to continue achieving more and strive to be better by self-examining ourselves, I think we can be very content. It is my hope that our members will be happier this year.”


<Other articles from this series>

New Leadership Spotlight: SK hynix’s First Female Research Fellow, Vice President Oh Haesoon, on Advancing NAND Flash

New Leadership Spotlight: SK hynix’s Youngest Exec, Lee Donghun, Discusses Spearheading NAND Flash Development

New Leadership Spotlight: Vice President Kitae Kim, Head of HBM Sales & Marketing, on Future-Proofing HBM’s Market Leadership

Leadership Spotlight: Deoksin Kil, Head of Material Development, On Achieving Tech Innovation Through Advanced Materials

New Leadership Spotlight: Head of HBM PI Unoh Kwon Aims to Finish SK hynix’s HBM Roadmap & Lead in the AI Era