[News] Nanya Technology Optimistic About DRAM Market, Expects Possible Supply Shortage and Turnaround in H2

2024-01-11 Semiconductors editor

Pei-Ing Lee, the General Manager of Nanya Technology, a major DRAM manufacturer, mentioned on January 10th that this year has seen an upward trend in DRAM prices

According to Economic Daily News citnig from Nanya Technology’s earnings call for 23Q4,  this trend is attributed to the resurgence of the smartphone market, increased demand fueled by AI, and the three major memory manufacturers pivoting towards DDR5 production. This shift is advantageous for depleting DDR4 inventory and could potentially result in a supply shortage.

Having endured over a year of downturn in the memory market, Lee expressed an optimistic outlook by stating that “there is a possibility of future supply shortages,” revealing an overall positive trajectory for the DRAM market.

Lee acknowledged that the DRAM market faced challenges last year, resulting in stagnant bit sales for Nanya Technology. However, he anticipates a better scenario this year, noting the upward trend in DDR4 pricing. The timing for DDR3 price increases is expected to follow but at a slower pace. Lee further stated that DDR3 constituted about 40% of Nanya Technology’s revenue  in the past, but it is expected to decrease, with DDR4’s share rising.

Due to major international players focusing on High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) and DDR5, he anticipates a potential supply shortage for DDR4 this year.

Lee pointed out that the growth in AI demand is positively impacting the DRAM market. The shift from high-end HBM and DDR4 to DDR5 is influencing demand, showing improvement quarter by quarter.

Regarding pricing trends, he confirmed a rebound in prices in the fourth quarter of 2023 and expressed optimism for a gradual upward trend in 2024. However, Lee cautioned that external variables such as geopolitical tensions, the war in Europe, and the U.S.-China trade dispute could still impact the market’s recovery momentum.

In terms of demand, Lee highlighted four key points. Firstly, server demand is driven by AI servers, with a focus on observing IT spending by U.S. cloud companies. Secondly, the introduction of new smartphones, leading to an increase in average DRAM capacity, especially in AI smartphones boosting the high-end smartphone market. Presently, improving smartphone sales in China are observed, and the recovery momentum of the Chinese economy is crucial.

In the PC application sector, Lee mentioned that inventory is gradually returning to normal levels, and AI PCs will simultaneously boost the high-end PC market. As for consumer electronic terminal products, demand for IP cameras, networking, industrial control, and automotive applications is relatively healthy, with consumer electronic products expected to show stable growth in 2024.

In terms of technological advancements, Nanya Technology aims to begin small-scale production of DDR5 products at the end of the third quarter of this year. Initially applied in servers and partly in PCs, the first product is expected to achieve a bandwidth of 5600MHz, while the second product is currently in the design phase, with an estimated bandwidth of 6400MHz.

Lee explained that their second DDR5 product will utilize third-generation processes, aiming to further improve cost structures, increase speed, achieve a target of 6400 MHz, and possess the capability for high density and 3D IC technology.

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(Photo credit: Nanya Technology)

Please note that this article cites information from Economic Daily News