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Optimized product mix helps Samsung secure DRAM ranking crown

Posted: 09 May 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DRAM? ASP? DRAM price?

The DRAM industry saw healthier revenue figures in 1Q12 than in the first quarter of last year as total DRAM revenue fell by a mere 2.8 percent QoQ, said DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce. The robust revenue is mainly due to the stabilization of commodity DRAM price, less ASP decline than last quarter and increased bit growth due to capacity utilization rate recovery and technology migration, the research firm noted.

The latest global branded DRAM revenue ranking reveals Korean makers Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd and SK Hynix have a firm grasp on nearly 70 percent of the global market. Meanwhile Japanese manufacturer Elpida Memory Inc. and U.S. supplier Micron Technology Inc. have switched positions yet againElpida returns to third place, while Micron falls to fourth. Taiwan manufacturers' revenue accounts for only 8.4 percent of the global market, a figure that is expected to continue decreasing as Taiwan DRAM makers transition to foundry business and specialty DRAM production.

DRAM revenue ranking

Source: DRAMeXchange, May 2012.

Samsung still king of DRAM
Samsung continues to hold first place in market share with 41.4 percent for 1Q12, a slight 3 percent QoQ decrease. The Korean maker's total revenue fell by 9.1 percent, a greater decrease than that experienced by other manufacturers. According to TrendForce analysis, this is due to the fact that the proportion of Samsung's mobile DRAM bit output is high, therefore the impact from the mobile DRAM price decrease caused noticeable revenue decline. However, as mobile DRAM is by nature more profitable than other application products, Samsung's operating margin still reached 12 percent in 1Q12making the Korean giant the only DRAM maker with a positive operating margin this quarter.

Second-place market share holder SK Hynix's revenue stayed mostly flat in 1Q12, with less than 1 percent market share growth relative to 4Q11. Like Samsung, SK Hynix's product mix is gradually expanding to specialty DRAM, thus, the maker was also impacted by the mobile DRAM price decrease. The resulting -18 percent DRAM operating margin marks the third consecutive quarter of losses for SK Hynix. However, compared to manufacturers further down on the revenue ranking, TrendForce believes the Korean maker has a better chance of seeing positive figures in the next six months, as commodity DRAM price is showing a stable uptrend, the mobile DRAM price decline is likely to slow, and technology migration to the 38nm process continues.


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