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【Market View】TrendForce: Global Branded Mobile DRAM Manufacturer 1Q12 Revenue Ranking - Samsung Takes Nearly 60% of Market

Published 2012-05-14 (GMT+8)

TrendForce: Global Branded Mobile DRAM Manufacturer 1Q12 Revenue Ranking - Samsung Takes Nearly 60% of Market

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, DRAM makers are aggressively developing and increasing production capacity of mobile DRAM in an effort to not only improve profits, but also reduce losses from commodity DRAM production. Mobile DRAM ASP fell by 10-15% in 1Q while contract price dropped 10%, but as shipment bit growth was around 20%, total mobile DRAM revenue increased by approximately 8.7% QoQ. TrendForce indicates, with the exception of Samsung, whose market share expanded significantly, manufacturers’ mobile DRAM revenue was impacted by the price decline in 1Q12.

Samsung Semiconductor Maintains Lead, Gap Shrinks as SK Hynix Charges Full Speed Ahead

With diverse product mix, technology, and manufacturing cost advantages, Samsung Semiconductor single-handedly took 60% of the mobile DRAM market in 1Q12. The contribution from Samsung’s Galaxy series was significant, accounting for 30% of Samsung’s total mobile DRAM output. The Korean makers' mobile DRAM market share was nearly 80% in 1Q, a reflection of their successful planning and hard work in the mobile DRAM sector. Samsung’s 2012 market strategy focuses on LPDDR2 and high density MCP production – TrendForce believes this is the reason Samsung has outperformed its competitors in terms of mobile DRAM revenue. Next, Samsung plans to work on increasing client acceptance of high density LPDDR2 to spur the next stage of revenue growth. Additionally, Samsung is aggressively promoting Ultrabook-use LPDDR3*16. Although the specification has not yet passed JEDEC certification standards, if PC OEM acceptance is high, the product will help increase Samsung’s mobile DRAM market share even further. 

As for SK Hynix, 1Q mobile DRAM revenue was similar to the previous quarter’s figures. As the 38nm process yield rate gradually improves, manufacturing cost will decrease and production ratio will increase. Furthermore, as client testing of LPDDR2 4Gb chips has already completed, high density LPDDR2 shipments will continue increasing which should benefit SK Hynix’s profits in 2Q.

Elpida and Micron Team Up to Face Foes, Will Benefit from Vertical Integration

Although Elpida continues to guarantee shipment delivery, as its financial situation is still shaky, many clients have adjusted their inventory plans to avoid the risk of a supply shortage if Elpida suddenly cuts or stops production. Therefore, Elpida’s 1Q mobile DRAM market share and revenue were impacted significantly. However, product quality for Elpida’s LPDDR2 has been praised by clients – after the maker’s financial situation has stabilized and the integration with Micron takes place, Elpida’s performance should see gradual recovery.

Looking at Micron, due to strong entry to mid-level smartphone demand growth from China and emerging markets, low density mobile DRAM and MCP product demand is increasing. In terms of process technology, Micron has migrated to the 30nm process and yield rate is improving – samples are currently being sent to clients. As Micron has NAND flash and NOR flash product combinations, it has a diverse mobile DRAM product mix, especially its MCP (4Gb + 4GB). Micron’s products are widely used in entry to mid-level smartphone models and feature phones, and provide significant benefit to revenue. If Micron cooperates with Elpida on high density mobile DRAM, vertical product integration will increase the U.S. maker’s mobile market share.

Taiwanese Makers Take 2% Market Share, Nanya Takes a Chance on High Density Mobile DRAM

Using Micron’s technology, Nanya produced and sent 30nm mobile DRAM product samples to clients in 2Q and is expected to begin mass production in 2H12, breaking into the market with discrete LPDDR2 products. Winbond will develop 46nm LPDDR1 256/512 Mb mobile DRAM this year, combining it with pseudo SRAM to expand its feature phone market share, gradually increasing the maker’s mobile DRAM revenue portion.

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