SEOUL, Oct. 20 (Yonhap) — SK hynix Inc., South Korea’s No. 2 chipmaker, said Tuesday that it has agreed to buy a memory chip unit from U.S. semiconductor giant Intel Corp. in a deal worth 10.3 trillion won (US$9 billion).

SK hynix said it will acquire all of Intel’s NAND flash business, except its Optane memory unit. The deal includes Intel’s solid state drive (SSD) business and its factory in Dalian, China.

The deal will make SK hynix the world’s second-largest NAND flash chip producer.

According to market researcher TrendForce, SK hynix was the world’s fourth-largest NAND flash maker with an 11.7 percent revenue share in the second quarter of the year, while Intel was ranked sixth with an 11.5 percent revenue share.

South Korean chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. led the market with a 31.4 percent share, followed by Japan’s Kioxia Corp. with 17.2 percent.

SK hynix, also the No. 2 player in the global DRAM market, has been trying to boost its competitiveness in the NAND flash sector.

Last year, the company started to mass produce the industry’s first 128-layer 1 Terabit triple-level cell (TLC) 4D NAND flash. It is currently developing the next-generation 176-layer 4D NAND flash.

SK hynix and Intel have been closely working together for advanced chip development. The two sides recently collaborated on the Double Data Rate 5 (DDR5) DRAM spec development.