Samsung Electronics has announced that it has started mass production of 286-layer NAND flash memory chips with increased storage capacity, Nikkei Asia reports.

The ninth-generation 3D NAND memory will be used in artificial intelligence data centers and smartphones. It is believed that the main customers will be large American technology companies such as Google and Apple, and Samsung is already shipping samples.

Compared to the eighth-generation 3D NAND, which contains 236 layers, the new generation increases bit density by 50%. This increases the speed of data input and output by 33% and reduces power consumption by 10%.

The proliferation of generative AI has driven demand for higher-capacity NAND memory due to the massive amounts of data required for machine learning and processing. Chipmakers are competing to increase memory capacity by vertically stacking memory cells.

Samsung also said it is developing a 10th generation 3D NAND product with more than 400 layers. Another South Korean company, SK Hynix, said that it is already mass-producing 238-layer NAND memory, i.e., the 8th generation.