[News] AI Trend Drives Market Demand, Samsung NAND Flash Utilization Exceeds 90%

2024-04-23 Semiconductors editor

According to a report from Korean media ETNews citing industry sources, it has indicated that Samsung Electronics has recently increased the capacity utilization rate of NAND Flash to over 90%, a further increase from the first quarter’s 80%.

Previously, Korean media including ETNews and The Elec held a relatively optimistic view of Samsung Electronics’ NAND Flash business, reporting that the operating rate of the Xi’an plant had reached 70%. However, the Chosun Daily has a different perspective, suggesting that Samsung Electronics continues to maintain its plan of reducing production by 50%.

According to the same report from ETNews, some NAND Flash fabs of Samsung are currently operating at full capacity, significantly better than the lowest utilization rate of 60% seen in 2023. Reportedly, the capacity utilization rate of the Xi’an plant in China has notably increased, followed by a gradual recovery in the NAND Flash capacity at Samsung’s Pyeongtaek facility in South Korea.

The report further cited another industry source who noted that downstream customers’ inventories of NAND Flash have essentially been depleted, leading to a balanced supply-demand trend. This is reportedly a key driver behind Samsung’s ongoing increase in capacity utilization.

The primary reason for the rise in NAND Flash market demand is attributed to the AI trend driving increased demand for enterprise solid-state drives (SSDs) from related businesses. This includes cloud computing service providers in North America and China increasing their purchases of enterprise storage to meet market demands.

As per TrendForce’s press release in March, it has projected a strong 13–18% increase in Q2 NAND Flash contract prices, with enterprise SSDs expected to rise highest. Despite Kioxia and WDC boosting their production capacity utilization rates from Q1 this year, other suppliers have kept their production strategies conservative. The slight dip in Q2 NAND Flash purchasing—compared to Q1—does not detract from the overall market’s momentum, which continues to be influenced by decreasing supplier inventories and the impact of production cuts.

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(Photo credit: Samsung)

Please note that this article cites information from ETNews.