SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) — SK hynix Inc. will focus on improving profitability of its NAND business following its deal to buy Intel Corp.’s non-volatile memory unit, its chief executive officer said Tuesday.

Lee Seok-hee told shareholders that SK hynix is committed to becoming the global leader in the NAND industry with the acquisition of Intel’s NAND business and its 2018 investment in Japan’s Kioxia Corp.

Last October, SK hynix, also the world’s No. 2 DRAM maker, signed an agreement to buy Intel’s non-volatile memory unit for US$9 billion, which includes the U.S. firm’s solid state drive (SSD) business and a NAND flash chip plant in Dalian, China.

“SK hynix has strength in mobile NAND, while Intel’s forte is in the enterprise SSD sector, so we can create and maximize the synergy,” Lee said at the company’s annual shareholders meeting at its headquarters in Icheon, south of Seoul.

In this photo provided by SK hynix Inc. on March 30, 2021, SK hynix CEO Lee Seok-hee speaks to shareholders at the company’s shareholders meeting in Icheon, south of Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The acquisition of Intel’s NAND unit will make SK hynix the world’s second-largest NAND supplier.

As of the fourth quarter of 2020, SK hynix ranked fourth in the NAND market with a revenue share of 11.6 percent, while Intel took the sixth spot with 8.9 percent, according to data from market researcher TrendForce.

Samsung Electronics Co. topped the ranking with 32.9 percent, followed by Kioxia with 19.5 percent.

“We are thinking of a plan on building R&D infrastructure across various regions including the United States and Europe,” Lee said. “We will also find promising companies in the sectors like artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous driving and 5G to make investments.”