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TrendForce Says Mobile DRAM Revenue Grew 14.8% Sequentially in Second Quarter and Will Keep Climbing in Third Quarter

23 August 2017 Semiconductors TrendForce

DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, reports that the global mobile DRAM market experienced some recovery during the second quarter, though smartphone sales remained sluggish. Smartphone brands had lowered their annual production volume targets in the first quarter and in turn faced inventory pileup for memory components. However, the situation later improved in the second quarter and stock-up demand returned.

DRAMeXchange says that the global mobile DRAM revenue for the second quarter of 2017 rose by 14.8% compared with the prior quarter. Among the top DRAM makers, Samsung and Micron managed to score sequential growth of more than 10% for their second-quarter mobile DRAM sales.

According to the revenue market share ranking, the leader Samsung again took more than 60% of the global mobile DRAM market in the second quarter. SK Hynix saw its market share slipped by 2.2 percentage points but retained second place. Third-place Micron garnered a 15% global market share for two quarters in a row on account of its increasing emphasis on smartphone business following changes made to its business strategy. 

On the revenue front, Samsung’s performance in the second quarter was the reverse of the lackluster performance of the prior quarter. The supplier’s mobile DRAM revenue for the period totaled US$3.82 billion, an increase of 20.7% compared with the first quarter. For the second quarter, SK Hynix posted positive revenue growth for its mobile DRAM business. However, the increase was moderate because SK Hynix’s eMCP and discrete product shipments were constrained by the company’s own limited output of NAND Flash.

As for Micron, the temporary suspension of Fab-2 (N2) owned by its subsidiary Micron Technology Taiwan is going to have impact on its mobile DRAM production during this year’s second half. The contamination at Fab-2 caused by malfunctioning gas system ruined 50,000 wafers that were mostly going to be processed into mobile DRAM products. Micron is increasing wafer starts to make up for the deficit, but its mobile DRAM and market share in the third quarter will be adversely affected by this event.

Taiwanese DRAM suppliers enjoyed strong demand for mid-range and low-end mobile memory components worldwide during the second quarter. However, the tight supply of NAND Flash for mainstream eMCPs limited the expansion of mobile DRAM shipments from Taiwanese suppliers. This was the case for Nanya, which saw lower than expected shipments of its mobile DRAM chips in the second quarter. Nanya has also scaled back the share of mobile DRAM in its product mix in order increase the share of consumer DRAM that offers a higher ASP. Due to the above mentioned factors, Nanya’s second-quarter mobile DRAM revenue fell by 6% compared with the prior quarter to US$79 million.

The other Taiwanese supplier Winbond also saw its second-quarter revenue dipped by 3.6% from the first quarter. Winbond’s mobile DRAM business has been affected by the loss of some clients. However, the company will see mobile DRAM sales returning to growth in the third quarter because of the advent of the busy season. 

Top three DRAM suppliers will see further increases in profits during third quarter as the recovery of the smartphone market leads to an uptick in contract prices

According to DRAMeXchange’s third-quarter outlook, the global mobile DRAM revenue will keep climbing in the third quarter on returning demand in the smartphone market and small increases in contract prices. The top three DRAM suppliers – Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron – are expected to see expanding profit margins for their mobile DRAM products along with further revenue growth.

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