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Memory sector drives semiconductor market in '02

Posted: 19 Dec 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:dram? memory? samsung electronics? hynix? micron?

Worldwide DRAM revenue reached $16.2 billion in 2002, a 36.7 percent increase from 2001, according to preliminary statistic released by Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Inc.

The Dataquest report further stated that Samsung Electronics strengthened its position as the No.1 DRAM supplier, increasing its revenue market share to 31 percent. Further, Micron Technology, and Hynix Semiconductor saw their market shares drop in 2002, but held onto their rankings as the No. 2 and No. 3 vendors, respectively.

"Samsung's revenue was strengthened by its high exposure to premium price products, such as RDRAM and DDRAM, said Andrew Norwood, senior analyst with Gartner Dataquest."

Hynix Semiconductor's revenue increased 23 percent in 2002, but its market share declined from its 2001 results. "Hynix has been losing share in some of the big accounts, and its low percentage of premium products has kept revenue growth below the overall industry average," Norwood said. Infineon Technologies saw strong revenue growth in 2002, and increased its market share to 12 percent, but failed to catch Hynix. "This is the first time Infineon Technologies has broken the 10 percent barrier," said Norwood. "This is also the eleventh consecutive year the company has managed to increase its market share."

Overall, Japanese DRAM vendors had a tough year. "Japan, once the DRAM powerhouse country, has been pushed into last place. Japanese vendors now only control 12 percent of the market, compared with 21 percent in 2001," said Norwood. This is a marked change from 1986 when Japanese vendors controlled 78 percent of the market.

According to Dataquest analysts, Taiwanese vendors had an exceptional year, as they secured 14 percent of the market in 2002, compared with 8.4 percent in 2001. Among the Taiwanese vendors, Nanya Technology was the big winner, moving up from eighth position in 2001 to sixth in 2002.

Despite the healthy revenue growth in 2002, Gartner Dataquest analysts said most DRAM vendors are still experiencing revenue losses. This is said to lead to the increasing trade friction among the major producing regions.

The market research firm concludes that DRAM remains the most volatile sector of the worldwide semiconductor market. Worldwide semiconductor revenue grew 1.4 percent in 2002. If DRAM revenues were excluded from the total semiconductor market, worldwide semiconductor sales revenues would have declined by 2 percent.

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