memory chip


[News] CXMT Launches First Domestic LPDDR5, Collaborating with Industry Partners for Market Expansion

On November 28, CXMT revealed its latest DRAM product, LPDDR5. As the first Chinese brand to independently develop and manufacture LPDDR5 products, CXMT marks a breakthrough in the Chinese market and broadens its product reach in the mobile terminal market, reported by MooreNews.

CXMT’s LPDDR5, the fifth generation of low-power double data rate synchronous dynamic random access memory, boasts a 50% increase in single-die density and speed compared to LPDDR4X, respectively reaching 12Gb and 6400Mbps. Notably, power consumption is reduced by 30%. Featuring robust RAS features, including on-die error correction code (ECC) for real-time error correction, LPDDR5 enable data security and system stability. The 12GB LPDDR5 chip from CXMT is the first product adopting Package on Package (PoP) stacking for the company.

The launch of LPDDR5 by CXMT enhances the quality and reduces costs for personal and business applications, further expanding its footprint in the mobile market. As the first company in launching independently developed and manufactured LPDDR5 products in China, CXMT accelerates the industrialization of the DRAM industry, spearheading the Chinese DRAM industry into the LPDDR5 era.

LPDDR5 chips bring faster speeds and lower power consumption to mobile electronic devices, significantly improving overall product performance. According to CXMT’s website, LPDDR5 products have already received validation from major Chinese smartphone brands such as Xiaomi and Transsion, with plans to expedite overall market commercialization.

In its product lineup, CXMT specializes in DRAM design, with DDR4, LPDDR4X, and DDR4 modules catering to diverse storage needs in terms of performance, capacity, and usage. Collaborating through joint research and development with leading customer companies, CXMT delivers highly customized integrated solutions, effectively meeting the varied demands of the market. The introduction of LPDDR5 further solidifies CXMT’s position in the mobile market.
(Image: CXMT)


[News] Beyond Price Hikes, What Lies Ahead for the Memory Market?

Stepping into the fourth quarter of 2023, the memory market is witnessing a comprehensive uptick in DRAM and NAND Flash prices. This surge, attributed to the gradual impact of companies’ production cuts and sustained robust demand in specific application markets, is poised to continue into the first quarter of the following year.

TrendForce’s analysis reveals an estimated 13-18% increase in Mobile DRAM contract prices for the fourth quarter, while eMMC and UFS NAND Flash contracts are expected to see a rise of about 10-15%. Looking forward to the first quarter of 2024, the upward trajectory in overall memory prices is anticipated to persist. The contract prices for Mobile DRAM and NAND Flash (eMMC, UFS) are expected to continue ascending, contingent on whether companies uphold a conservative production strategy and if there’s tangible consumer demand support at the end.

The memory market, coming out of its challenging phase, is not just experiencing increases in prices but is also anticipated to gain momentum from various factors contributing to its revival.

AI-Driven Surge in Smartphone Memory Capacities

According to reports from Wccftech, a notable trend in 2024 is the rise of terminal AI, now integrated into various chipsets like Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, Dimensity 9300, and Exynos 2400. Smartphones with AI demand more memory, with the expectation that Android phones featuring built-in AI will require a minimum of 20GB RAM.

While 8GB RAM remains the standard for Android phones, there are now phones in the market boasting higher RAM capacities than most laptops or PCs, though it has yet to become ubiquitous. Industry experts suggest that to smoothly execute AI image feature in the future, Android phones will need at least 12GB RAM. Considering AI applications and other features, phones will require over 20GB RAM for seamless operations.

Given that numerous Android phone brands are actively investing in AI, 2024 is poised to make AI a focal point for devices. Consequently, the industry underscores that as RAM requirements rise, hardware specifications become more crucial than ever for modern AI devices.

Noteworthy Growth in DDR5 Market Demand

Industry experts anticipate significant growth in demand for the DDR5 market, fueled by decreasing prices and the continuous improvement in companies’ yields.

As a high-value-added DRAM, DDR5 continues to garner favor from major players. Micron recent announcement of DDR5 memory based on 1β technology, boasting speeds of up to 7200 MT/s, signifies a shift toward the data center and PC markets.

Recently, Micron also introduced a 128GB DDR5 RDIMM memory utilizing 32Gb chips. This series boasts speeds of up to 8000 MT/s and is suitable for server and workstations. Employing Micron’s 1β technology, these series contribute to a 24% improvement in energy efficiency and 16% reduction in latency. Furthermore, Micron plans to launch models with speeds of 4800 MT/s, 5600 MT/s, and 6400 MT/s in 2024, with an upcoming model featuring a speed of 8000 MT/s in the future.

In terms of Samsung, it is reported to expand its DDR5 production line. Given the high value of DDR5 and its adoption in the PC and server markets, this year is considered a “year of large-scale adoption of DDR5.”

Improvement in HBM Supply Situation

Similar to DDR5, HBM, a high-value-added DRAM, has attracted significant attention this year. Fueled by the AI trend, the demand for the HBM market has surged, leading to an expansion in HBM production capacity.

TrendForce’s research indicates that looking ahead to 2024, the HBM sufficiency ratio is expected to improve, shifting from -2.4% in 2023 to 0.6%. With the AI boom driving demand for AI chips in 2023 and 2024, companies are increasing HBM capacity, anticipating a significant improvement in the HBM supply in 2024.

In terms of specifications, as the performance needs of AI chips increase, it’s anticipated that HBM3 and HBM3e will become the dominant choices in 2024. In general, with a rise in demand and the higher average selling prices of HBM3 and HBM3e compared to older versions, the revenue from HBM is expected to experience significant growth in 2024.

(Image: Qualcomm)


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[News] China’s Big Fund Drive Changxin Xinqiao towards 3-Year Memory Chip Mass Production

Following China’s Big Fund’s substantial $14.56 billion RMB investment in Changxin Xinqiao Storage Technology, a memory chip manufacturer, at the end of October, there are now reports of an additional $39 billion RMB injection.

China is actively building a domestic semiconductor supply chain, and according to Nikkei Asia, Changxin Xinqiao is set to utilize this funding to expedite the construction of its facility in Hefei, Anhui province, with the aim of achieving mass production within a span of three years.

Hefei is also the location of a production facility for ChangXin Memory Technologies (CXMT), a major semiconductor manufacturer specializing in DRAM production. Changxin Xinqiao shares some shareholders and its general manager with CXMT, according to Tianyancha.

Chinese media points out that Changxin Xinqiao has ambitious plans to produce DRAM chips in Hefei, destined for use in computers and a wide array of electronic devices. At present, Changxin Xinqiao has initiated the tendering process for new facility equipment and is poised to accelerate procurement and related procedures using the recently acquired funding.

With support from the Hefei City government, Changxin Xinqiao initiated the DRAM factory construction project in 2019 and laid out a policy to make use of domestically manufactured semiconductor production equipment.

(Image: CXMT)

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[News] Western Digital’s Impressive Results Raise Hopes for Memory Market Revival

On October 30th, major memory manufacturer Western Digital unveiled its financial results for the first quarter of 2024. During this quarter, the company achieved revenue of $2.75 billion, marking a 3% increase compared to the previous quarter but a 26% decrease compared to the same period last year.

The Potential for Sustained Growth in the Cloud Market

Taking a closer look at end-market dynamics in this quarter, flash memory prices continued to decline, but a surge in product shipments drove quarterly growth in specific business segments.

Western Digital’s cloud business revenue was $872 million, accounting for 32% of total revenue, with a 12% quarterly decrease and a significant 52% annual drop. On client revenue, revenue reached $1.147 billion, comprising 42% of total revenue, showing an 11% quarterly growth but a 7% annual decrease. Consumer revenue stood at $731 million, constituting 26% of total revenue, with a 14% quarterly increase and an 8% annual increase.

Looking forward, Western Digital expects its Q2F24 to range from $2.85 billion to $3.05 billion.

Western Digital’s CEO, David Goeckeler, credited the Q1F24 to the team’s dedication. He said, “Our ability to develop differentiated and innovative products across a broad range of end markets has resulted in sequential margin improvement across both flash and HDD businesses.”

Goeckeler also noted that consumer and client markets continue to perform well, and the cloud market is expected to sustain growth. As market conditions improve, Western Digital’s refined cost structure empowers the company to leverage enhanced profitability.

Data from TrendForce, as of September 12th, places Western Digital fourth in the global NAND Flash market for Q2 2023, with a market share of 14.7%. This positions the company closely behind industry giants like Samsung Electronics, Kioxia, and SK Group.

Regarding the merger with Kioxia, media reports suggest that Western Digital, following stalled negotiations, plans to divest its flash memory business, accompanied by a new round of financing to address part of its debt. This strategic separation allows the company to maintain its traditional hard drive business and create two distinct publicly traded entities.

Goeckeler also explained, “However, given current constraints, it has become clearer to the board in recent weeks that delivering a stand-alone separation is the right next step in the evolution of Western Digital.”

Is the Storage Industry Poised for a Revival?

The storage industry has been facing a period of stagnation due to economic challenges and sluggish demand in the consumer electronics sector. Major players in the storage market, including Western Digital, Micron, Samsung, and Kioxia, have been compelled to reduce production and investments to address the issue of oversupply.

However, recent reports indicate that memory chip prices are set to experience a significant upturn in the fourth quarter of the challenging year 2023. Experts suggest that the industry is gradually moving towards a phase of growth.

In terms of pricing, TrendForce forecasts a general price increase in both DRAM and NAND Flash products, starting in the Q4. For DRAM, a seasonal price increase of approximately 3-8% is expected. The sustainability of this upward trend will depend on suppliers’ commitment to production reduction strategies and the extent of demand recovery, particularly in the general server domain.

As for NAND Flash, TrendForce anticipates a comprehensive price increase of around 8-13% in the fourth quarter. Looking forward to 2024, the continuation of this upward trend for NAND Flash may face challenges unless original manufacturers maintain production reduction strategies and demand for Enterprise SSDs in the server domain experiences a revival.
(Image: Western Digital)


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Annual DRAM Revenue for 2022 Expected to Reach US$91.5 Billion, with Prices Likely to Rally in 2H22, Says TrendForce

Despite the forecasted 18.6% YoY growth in total DRAM bit supply next year, the global DRAM market is still expected to shift from a shortage situation to an oversupply, according to TrendForce’s latest investigations. This shift can primarily be attributed to the fact that, not only are most buyers now carrying a relatively high level of DRAM inventory, but DRAM bit demand is also expected to increase by only 17.1% YoY in 2022. On the price front, the oversupply situation will result in a drop in DRAM ASP in 2022 but not a major decline in annual DRAM revenue, thanks to the oligopolistic nature of the DRAM industry. Annual DRAM revenue for 2022 is expected to reach US$91.54 billion, which represents a slight YoY increase of 0.3%.

Based on an analysis of DRAM sufficiency ratio (which refers to the surplus of supply in comparison with demand) for each quarter in 2022, TrendForce forecasts a 15% YoY decrease in DRAM ASP for 2022, with prices undergoing the more noticeable declines during the first half of the year. Heading into 2H22, however, owing to the rise in DDR5 penetration rate, as well as the arrival of peak seasonal demand, the decline in DRAM ASP will likely narrow. TrendForce does not rule out the possibility that DRAM ASP may even hold flat or undergo an increase in 2H22.

Annual NAND Flash revenue is expected to experience yet another increase next year by 7.4% YoY while numerous suppliers compete in higher-layer NAND Flash market segment

Turning to the NAND Flash market, TrendForce forecasts a 31.8% increase in total bit supply for 2022 and a 30.8% increase in total bit demand. Hence, NAND Flash ASP will likely experience a downtrend next year as a result of the oversupply situation. In addition, due to the perfect competition in the NAND Flash market, the decline in NAND Flash ASP next year will be more noticeable than the decline in DRAM ASP. However, NAND Flash suppliers continues to make progress in the stacking of NAND Flash layers, so the growth in NAND Flash bit supply next year will therefore remain above 30%. TrendForce thus expects NAND Flash revenue to have more room for growth and reach US$74.19 billion in 2022, a 7.4% YoY increase.

TrendForce’s forecast based on an analysis of NAND Flash sufficiency ratios for each quarter in 2022 similarly points to an 18.0% YoY decline in NAND Flash ASP next year. Much like DRAM, NAND Flash prices will undergo the more noticeable declines during 1H22. Arrival of peak seasonal demand in 2H22 will potentially result in a narrowing of price drops and a potential for quarterly prices to hold flat.

On the whole, the revenue performance of the DRAM industry and that of the NAND Flash industry over the years show that the annual total DRAM revenue is growing at more stable pace. Again, this has to do with the oligopolistic structure of the DRAM market. Since the DRAM market has a different competitive landscape, the fluctuations in the overall DRAM ASP have been relatively modest over the long run. However, the development of the DRAM manufacturing technology is approaching a physical bottleneck as process nodes shrink below the 20nm level. This means that the bit growth derived from the deployment of a more advanced process is becoming more and more limited over the years. On the other hand, not only are NAND Flash suppliers relatively more unstable in their capacity expansion plans compared to the DRAM industry, but further improvements in NAND Flash layer-stacking technology also remains feasible. Hence, the fluctuations in the overall NAND Flash ASP have been relatively more volatile over the long run. On account of these factors, the DRAM industry generally has smaller YoY revenue growth rates compared with the NAND Flash industry, although the DRAM industry continues to surpass the NAND Flash industry in terms of profitability.

Profitability of suppliers may be constrained if total revenue fails to keep pace with continuously rising CAPEX

Regarding the CAPEX (capital expenditures) of DRAM suppliers, there has been a gradual increase in these suppliers’ CAPEX to sales ratio in recent years, for two reasons. First, the development of the DRAM manufacturing technology is approaching a physical bottleneck. Die improvements have become more and more limited after process nodes have shrunk below the 20nm level. Micron’s 1alpha nm process can offer an almost 30% increase in bits per wafer, but the 1Xnm-to-1Ynm migrations and the subsequent 1Ynm-to-1Znm migrations that the major suppliers have undertaken in the recent period have yielded increases of no more than 15% in bits per wafer. Looking at future technological developments, Samsung and SK hynix have already integrated EUV lithography into their most advanced process technologies. However, orders for EUV lithography tools have a much longer lead time, and the costs of these tools are also high. Hence, the three dominant suppliers have allocated a large chunk of capital expenditure in advance to place orders for EUV lithography tools ahead of time.

Secondly, the oligopolistic structure of the DRAM market has also helped establish a regime where there is a very low chance of a supplier’s ASP dipping under its fully-loaded cost despite the recurrence of the cyclical price downturn. Moreover, DRAM suppliers have accumulated a substantial amount of profit from their products. In view of the difficulties in die shrinking, suppliers ranging from the three dominant suppliers to others with less market share (such as Nanya Tech and Winbond) have developed tangible plans for capacity expansions. These plans have, in turn, become the other main driver behind the ongoing increase in the CAPEX to sales ratio.

The CAPEX to sales ratio of NAND Flash suppliers have likewise risen substantially following the transition to 3D NAND technology in 2017. Notably, the average CAPEX to sales ratio fell within the 25-30% range prior to 2017, but it has since climbed to nearly 40% as of now. This growth can primarily be attributed to the fact that, as the number of 3D NAND layers increases, there is a corresponding increase in the lead times of NAND Flash products and in the degree of precision as well as difficulty involved in the etching process. While the mainstream layer count of NAND Flash products approaches 1YY layers, suppliers are currently planning to move forward with the development of products with 2XX layers, which place an ever-increasing demand on etch depth. The CAPEX of NAND Flash suppliers will continue to grow alongside increases in layer count and revenue.

TrendForce indicates that NAND Flash layer-stacking technology will continue to progress, meaning suppliers will continue to pursue the stacking of additional layers as a way to lower their manufacturing cost per GB. As such, the NAND Flash industry’s CAPEX will have additional potential for growth going forward, with a CAPEX to sales ratio of close to 40% or above. It should be noted, however, that if total NAND Flash revenue fails to keep pace with the growth in CAPEX in the next few years, NAND Flash suppliers’ CAPEX to sales ratio may potentially undergo an excessive increase, thereby constraining the profitability of suppliers.

For more information on reports and market data from TrendForce’s Department of Semiconductor Research, please click here, or email Ms. Latte Chung from the Sales Department at

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