[News] Samsung Reportedly Adjusts DRAM and NAND Flash Capacity to Boost Prices

2024-02-02 Semiconductors editor

Samsung’s latest financial report reveals that the fourth-quarter shipments of DRAM and NAND Flash in 2023 exceeded previous expectations, reflecting an improvement in market demand. Samsung will continue selectively adjusting the production capacity of specific DRAM and NAND Flash products to boost prices.

Samsung Electronics’ memory business is expected to return to profit in the first quarter of 2024, signaling a recovery in the memory industry. Commercial Times reports that due to inventory improvements, Samsung’s utilization rate of DRAM is projected to increase from 70% in the fourth quarter of 2024 to 81% in the first quarter of 2024, and further rise to 89% in the second quarter.

According to industry sources cited in the Commercial Times’ report, Samsung’s fourth-quarter shipments of DRAM and NAND Flash in 2023 exceeded previous expectations. This was primarily attributed to Samsung’s memory experiencing a smaller price increase compared to its competitors, thereby accelerating the pace of inventory clearance, particularly in the case of DRAM, where improvements were more significant.

Samsung is expected to continue selectively adjusting the production of DRAM and NAND Flash products. As the first quarter is typically a slow season for the industry, Samsung anticipates a sequential decline in DRAM and NAND Flash shipments in the first quarter of 2024. However, prices are expected to continue rising.

Due to the destocking of Samsung’s DRAM for eight to ten weeks, it is expected to return to normal level by the end of the 1st quarter of 2024. Meanwhile, NAND Flash inventory is projected to normal level within the first half of 2024.

At the same time, Samsung plans to commence production of HBM3e 24GB products in the first half of 2024, with HBM3e 36GB products slated for production in the second half of the year, with progress ahead of schedule. Additionally, the development of the next-generation HBM4 is currently underway, with samples expected to be released in 2025 and mass production in 2026.

As per sources cited by the Commercial Times, reportedly, regarding HBM3 and HBM3e, HBM3 used in AI servers is still exclusively supplied by SK Hynix, with the highest yield in backend packaging, followed by Micron. Meanwhile, the report also indicates that HBM3e is expected to begin mass production in the first quarter of 2024. Micron’s outsourcing of backend TSV and stacking to TSMC has accelerated the product’s production speed.

As for the higher-spec HBM4, TrendForce expects its potential launch in 2026. With the push for higher computational performance, HBM4 is set to expand from the current 12-layer (12hi) to 16-layer (16hi) stacks, spurring demand for new hybrid bonding techniques. HBM4 12hi products are set for a 2026 launch, with 16hi models following in 2027.

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(Photo credit: Samsung)

Please note that this article cites information from Commercial Times.