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Elpida, Hynix inch up in DRAM rankings

Posted: 05 Feb 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DRAM? memory? Elpida? Hynix? Samsung?

Elpida Memory Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. were the stars of the DRAM industry in 2006, according to a preliminary ranking from iSuppli Corp.

According to the market research firm, Hynix of South Korea pulled off a ''double upset'' in the DRAM market, as it surpassed Qimonda AG for second place in the rankings for both Q4 2006 and the overall rankings for 2006. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd remained the world's largest DRAM supplier in both the Q4 of last year and overall ranking of 2006.

Hynix' DRAM bit shipments surged 31 percent in Q4, compared to the Q3. The increase caused Hynix' revenue to surge to $2.1 billion in Q4, up 42.9 percent from $1.4 billion in Q4, according to iSuppli's preliminary ranking. In comparison, worldwide DRAM bit shipments for all companies increased by just 14 percent during the same period, the firm said.

Hynix' share of global DRAM revenue increased to 19.2 percent in Q4, up from 15.8 percent in the previous quarter, and propelled Hynix past Germany's Qimonda to take the second rank in DRAM, according to the firm. The company accounted for a 16.6 percent share of DRAM revenue for all of 2006, putting it behind only market leader Samsung of South Korea.

''Hynix's success was due to its aggressive migration to 80nm process technology and its fast ramp up of its Wuxi fab in China,'' said Nam Hyung Kim, director and principal analyst for iSuppli, in a statement.

Qimonda had been the number-two DRAM supplier for the first three quarters of 2006 but failed to hold on the position after falling behind Hynix by $545 in Q4. Qimonda's revenue declined by 2 percent in the Q4 compared to the previous quarter because its shipments decreased by 3 percent, partly due to production problems at its foundry partner, Inotera, according to firm.

Meanwhile, Japan's Elpida surpassed Micron Technology Inc. for fourth place in Q4. However, Micron was ahead of Elpida in the overall rankings for 2006, iSuppli said.

Elpida attained an 11.1 percent market share in the fourth quarter, while Micron's portion of global DRAM revenue dropped to less than 10 percent to reach 9.5 percent, according to iSuppli's preliminary market share estimate.

Overall, 2006 was stellar year for Elpida, with its DRAM sales rising by nearly 100 percent compared to 2005, the firm said. The company's strong performance was also reflected in its stunning annual equity return of more than 70 percent, which was the highest among all DRAM suppliers in 2006. Also, its recently-announced joint venture with Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. is expected to increase its market share even more in 2007.

The global DRAM market grew by 36 percent to $33.9 billion, which is higher than iSuppli's previous Q4 forecast of 34 percent growth and $33.2 billion revenue. The DRAM industry was one of the most profitable segments of the semiconductor industry in 2006, with operating margins as high as 45 percent.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times




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