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keyword:Alan Chen29 result(s)

Press Releases
U.S.-Japanese Consortium Announced as the Front Runner in the Bid for Toshiba’s Memory Business; TrendForce Says Such Deal Will Add Pressure on Samsung in NAND Flash Market



Toshiba on June 21 announced that it has chosen a consortium led by US-based Bain Capital and investors backed by the Japanese government as the first-place bidder for the spin-off of the company’s memory business The deal is set to be finalized on June 28 and completed by March of next year According to DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, this announcement in the short term could cause the NAND Flash market to start shifting from undersupply to equilibrium this fourth quarter In the long run, the support and demand provided by the bidding party could help the spun-off memory business to become more competitive against Samsung in terms of NAND Flash production capacity and related technology Alan Chen, senior research manager of DRAMeXchange, pointed out that together Toshiba and Western Digital currently account for 347% of the global production capacity for NAND Flash The production capacity share of this alliance trails closely behind Samsung’s leading capacity share of 366% Collectively, Toshiba, Western Digital and Samsung now represent about 70% of total production By itself, Toshiba’s memory business made around US$197 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2017 Toshiba was also third place in the NAND Flash revenue ranking for the first quarter with a market share of 165%, following the second-place Western Digital and the leader Samsung Though the overall NAND Flash production capacity of the Toshiba-Western Digital alliance is comparable to Samsung’s, Chen noted that Samsung has a much larger 3D-NAND production capacity The Toshiba-Western Digital alliance in this second quarter has 10~15% of its total monthly NAND Flash capacity allocated to 3D-NAND manufacturing Meanwhile, the percentage of Samsung’s monthly NAND Flash capacity related to 3D-NAND manufacturing has already surpassed 40% Micron and Intel, which are strategic partners in the NAND Flash market, have also been striving to expand their 3D-NAND production since the second half of 2016 Their 3D-NAND capacity already represents around 40% of their combined monthly NAND Flash capacity “The Toshiba-Western Digital camp from the start of this year has been working to catch up to their competitors in 3D-NAND Flash production,” said Chen “Nevertheless, Toshiba’s memory business has been unable to fully carry out its plan because of the uncertainties created by its parent company’s financial troubles” This announcement could influence NAND Flash market so that it may begin to shift from undersupply to equilibrium this fourth quarter In the short term, the timing of the spin-off is going to influence the supply-demand situation in the fourth quarter of 2017 “Toshiba’s announcement indicates that the agreement will be finalized before the end of this June,” said Chen “Therefore Toshiba and Western Digital will be able to closely adhere to their 3D-NAND production schedule” The Toshiba-Western Digital alliance originally planned to have 30~40% of their combined NAND Flash capacity devoted to 3D-NAND products by the fourth quarter of 2017 The announcement of the US-Japanese consortium as the first-place bidder would ensure certainty and help Toshiba and Western Digital to stick to their timetable Their contribution to NAND Flash supply may be significant enough to cause the market to start shifting back to equilibrium in the fourth quarter The general price uptrend may also begin to moderate or taper off by then The spun-off memory business will fully control its own capital expenditure and achieve greater operational efficiency in the long run After this deal, the spun-off entity will become a separate NAND Flash supplier that will be able to plan its own capital expenditure without worrying about the wider financial pressure and the unequal sharing of resources with other group companies Having financial independence, the spun-off entity will also be able to concentrate more on investing in technologies and manufacturing capacity This deal on the whole is expected to significantly raise operational efficiency and quicken the decision-making process for the memory business Members of the first-place bidding party include Innovation Network of Corporation of Japan (INCJ), Development Bank of Japan (DBJ), Bain Capital, and SK Hynix Since this consortium has government-backed investors from Japan and major private investment firms from the US, their bid has elevated the acquisition of Toshiba’s memory business as a matter of national strategic interests If the consortium succeeds in acquiring Toshiba’s memory business, it would act mainly as a government-backed financial supporter The consortium therefore would probably not make significant changes to the top-level management and basic operation of the memory business SK Hynix would not have direct influence over the operation of the spun-off entity as a member of the consortium However, the South Korean memory maker would certainly have greater access to the financial information and business plans of the newly separated company SK Hynix could also collaborate with Toshiba’s memory business in areas such as technology at a later time The presence of these new stakeholders will also contribute significantly to the R&D and production planning of the spun-off memory business Depending on the follow-up progress, the spun-off entity could eventually reshape the competitive landscape of the NAND Flash market and become a major rival to Samsung Chen added that though the consortium has been announced as the first-place bidder, the transaction will not only have to be approved by the Japanese government but also pass anti-trust reviews by regulatory agencies of other countries

Press Releases
1Q17 NAND Flash Revenue Dipped Only 0.4% vs. Prior Quarter as Undersupply Continues to Sway the Market, Says TrendForce



The NAND Flash market remained in undersupply in the first quarter of 2017 as it had been in the preceding quarter, according to the latest report from DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce Despite seasonality, the average contract price of NAND Flash chips in the channel market actually surged by 20~25% in the first quarter compared with last year’s fourth quarter Also, prices of mobile storage products such as eMCP, eMMC and UFS are still climbing NAND Flash suppliers therefore can expect positive revenue outlook for the entire 2017 “The overall production capacity for 2D-NAND has fallen during the industry-wide migration to 3D-NAND manufacturing,” said Alan Chen, senior research manager of DRAMeXchange “As the market has yet to regain its balance following this disruption, contract prices of NAND Flash chips will keep going up” Despite this first quarter being the traditional slow season for end device shipments, the reduction in the 2D-NAND capacity was severe enough to result in tight supply during the period Consequently, the NAND Flash industry saw just a slight revenue dip in the first quarter With shortage being the overarching trend for the entire year, NAND Flash suppliers can also expect sequential revenue increases from the second to the final quarter Samsung Samsung’s revenue for this first quarter fell by 58% compared with the preceding three-month period, but the supplier saw a significant increase in its operating margin In addition to the favorable market condition, Samsung has been optimizing its NAND Flash product mix to give more weight to SSD products For the first quarter, SSDs accounted for more than 40% of Samsung’s product mix This contributed to Samsung’s revenue during period as ASPs of SSDs rose due to supply shortages Furthermore, Samsung has been enjoying strong sales of its high-capacity SSDs for the enterprise market SK Hynix Demand from China’s smartphone and SSD markets drove SK Hynix’s first-quarter revenue Furthermore, the general tight supply in the NAND Flash market resulted in an about 15% increase in SK Hynix’s ASPs for NAND Flash products compared with the fourth quarter Though SK Hynix’s first-quarter NAND Flash bit shipments fell by 3% versus the prior quarter, but the supplier maintained healthy profit margins for all of its storage product lines Toshiba Thanks to the overall market dynamics, Toshiba is in a more favorable position in price negotiations for its NAND Flash products In terms of product strategy, Toshiba concentrated on supplying Apple last year This year’s first quarter, however, the company has adjusted its product mix as to distribute production capacity more evenly among its different product lines Compared with the preceding quarter, Toshiba’s first-quarter NAND Flash revenue fell by around 65% to about US$197 billion Nonetheless, the supplier is maintaining a healthy profit level Western Digital Western Digital reported a subtle revenue increase of 03% for the first quarter compared with the prior quarter This increase was in line with the mild increases in Western Digital’s bit shipments At the same time, the supplier benefited from small hikes in ASPs of its NAND Flash products The revenue growth also reflected the dominance of SSDs in Western Digital’s storage business With the acquisition of SanDisk completed, Western Digital’s strategic focus will be high-capacity storage solutions and the adoption of the 3D-NAND technology that is being jointly developed with Toshiba Furthermore, Western Digital is going to streamline the overlapping businesses of SanDisk to help enlarge its revenue growth Micron As with other suppliers, Micron’s revenue rose due to the general undersupply Another contributing factor was the company’s adjustment of its product mix Micron’s first-quarter NAND Flash bit shipments grew versus the preceding quarter, while ASPs of its NAND Flash products remained stable On the whole, Micron’s first-quarter NAND Flash-related revenue rose by 11% compared with the prior quarter to around US$141 billion Intel Intel’s bit shipments for first quarter increased from the prior quarter as they rode on the growing server SSDs demand from enterprises and data centers Consequently, the company’s NAND Flash revenue for the first quarter grew by 61% compared with the previous quarter to US$866 million 

Press Releases
TrendForce Reports Intel Took First Place in Enterprise-Grade SSD Shipments Worldwide for This First Quarter; Samsung Followed Closely in Second Place



Global shipments of enterprise-grade SSDs for the first quarter of 2017 grew against seasonal headwinds by 3~4% compared with the prior quarter to reach around 6 million units, says DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce For the same quarter, enterprise-grade SSDs also represented more than 10% of the total SSD product shipments worldwide Currently, US-based Google, Facebook and Microsoft and China’s Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent all have voracious appetite for server systems as they are providing their services via their growing network of data centers These companies therefore are contributing substantially to the global demand for enterprise-grade SSDs “Compared with other end applications for NAND Flash, enterprise-grade SSDs have exhibited strong and dramatic demand growth and will continue to do so this second quarter,” said Alan Chen, senior research manager of DRAMeXchange Samsung with its 3D-NAND SSDs is quickly catching up to Intel in shipment market share Looking at the competition among first-tier SSD makers, Samsung has quickly captured a significant chunk of the enterprise-grade market with its competitively priced and high performing 3D-NAND SSDs Samsung’s global market share for enterprise-grade SSDs came to 25% in this first quarter, making the company the second largest supplier worldwide and a major rival to the leader Intel Intel, while being the leader enterprise storage solutions, has been feeling the pressure from Samsung Before the first quarter of 2017, Intel had fallen behind in its development of 3D-NAND SSDs The company had to offer products that were not as cost competitive as Samsung’s because they were based on older memory manufacturing technologies To attract customers, Intel not only lowered prices but also emphasized that its SSDs complement its server processors After persevering into the first quarter of this year, Intel was able to ship its 3D-NAND products in greater volumes The company’s global market share in enterprise-grade SSD segment therefore returned to above 40% for the first quarter Third-place Western Digital controls over 20% of the enterprise-grade SSD market owing to its acquisition of SanDisk Western Digital’s shipments of enterprise-grade SSDs has been on the rise since the SanDisk acquisition, and the company became the third-largest supplier worldwide in the first quarter of 2017 with a market share of more than 20% SanDisk’s product lines have benefited considerably from its parent company’s expertise in enterprise storage as well as the larger client base At the same time, Western Digital also integrated into its portfolio some specialty products that SanDisk has worked on in the past several years Following Intel, Samsung and Western Digital are smaller SSD suppliers with respective shipment market shares of less than 5% Factors that put these smaller competitors behind include the quality of their NAND Flash chips, lack of know-how in developing SSD controller chips and inexperience with the client sampling process However, Chen pointed out that the competition in the enterprise SSD market is just heating up, and the top three suppliers will face significant challenge in maintaining their dominance The fast maturation of 3D-NAND manufacturing goes together with SSD suppliers’ consensus that they need to tap into the demand in the enterprise market Therefore, smaller brands and later market entrants are highly motivated to catch up and put pressure on the leaders From the aspect of memory architectures and product offerings, Intel during this year’s first half will be shipping mostly enterprise-grade SSDs using 3D-NAND MLC chips As for the more cost-competitive enterprise products using 3D-NAND TLC chips, Intel will formally release them at the beginning of this third quarter Samsung, which has been edging close to Intel in the market share ranking, already has more than 80% of its enterprise-grade SSD shipments comprised of products using 3D-NAND TLC chips With regard to other SSD suppliers, only Micron has started to ship enterprise-grade 3D-NAND SSDs The rest of the competitors are expected to still mainly offer 2D-NAND products for this year In terms of the overall market share, DRAMeXchange projects that 3D-NAND products will account for over 50% of the enterprise-grade SSDs shipped worldwide this year Global market research firm TrendForce will hold Compuforum 2017 on May 31 at Taipei International Convention Center (TICC) The theme of the seminar is “The Innovation of Cloud Computing and Storage Technology” For more information about the event, please visit: http://seminartrendforcecom/Compuforum/2017/US/index/

Press Releases
Intel Aims to Keep Its Lead in Server Storage Market With Optane SSD DC P4800X Series, TrendForce Reports


Semiconductors , Consumer Electronics

Intel has made waves in the server SSD market with the reveal of its Optane SSD DC P4800X Series this March Based the company’s in-house 3D XPoint memory, the DC P4800X Series is scheduled for shipments in the second half of 2017 “3D XPoint greatly outperforms NAND Flash and will help Intel reinforce its leading position in the high-end segment of the SSD market that has become increasingly competitive,” said Alan Chen, senior research manager of DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce “In the future, the product roadmap of 3D XPoint could include client-grade SSDs and storage-class memory (SCM) devices Intel naturally wants to expand the adoption of this technology in other areas as to create flexibility in pricing and consumption of in-house production capacity” DRAMeXchange’s data show that Intel was the top brand in the global server SSD market for 2016 with more than 30% of the market share Rival Samsung closely followed Intel with a roughly similar market share So far, Intel’s leadership in the server SSD market comes from leveraging the company’s dominance in the CPU market However, Samsung and later entrants to this field are gaining experience and have adopted aggressive pricing to erode Intel’s market shares for mid-range and low-end server SSDs Chen added: “Intel lags behind Samsung and Toshiba in the production capacity for NAND Flash Putting forward a new premium SSD line that uses a proprietary memory technology is a way for Intel to maintain high profit margin for its server business with limited NAND Flash capacity Furthermore, the introduction of 3D XPoint will help Intel reduce the risk of being overly reliant on the high-end server SSD market Intel later on will likely use 3D XPoint for client-grade SSDs and SCM devices By introducing this memory technology to other application markets, Intel can have more flexibility in terms of pricing and capacity consumption” Comparatively speaking, the price per gigabyte (US$/GB) of a 375GB SSD from the DC P4800X Series is about four times as much as that of a NAND Flash-based SSD with similar specifications and PCIe interface Whether 3D XPoint can penetrate into the mid-range and low-end product segments will be determined mainly by pricing This new type of memory chips have to become more attractive cost-wise for OEMs in the client-grade SSD and SCM device markets From the design perspective, SSDs from the DC P4800X Series use 128Gb 3D XPoint chips that are stacked together The interface is PCIe and the controller chip is developed in house In terms of capacity options, Intel will first release 375GB products and then roll out 750GB and 15TB models According to the listed specifications, SSDs of this series is capable of reaching 2,400MB/s for sequential reading, 2,200MB/s for sequential writing and over 500,000 in IOPS Furthermore, they have a typical latency of less than 10 microseconds and score 30 on the major endurance indicator DWPD (drive writes per day) “The DC 4800X Series is presented as a SSD solution that will fully take advantage of PCIe G3x4 while having a high level of endurance,” said Chen Based on the official recommended price, a 375GB SSD of the DC P4800X Series is set at around US$4/GB Meanwhile, a NAND Flash-based SSD with similar specifications and PCIe interface can cost as low as US$1/GB This four-fold difference means that the DC P4800X Series is probably targeting the high-end segment of the server SSD market during the initial release period Intel’s new 3D XPoint-based SSDs can expand the capacity of server DRAM via the company’s proprietary virtualization software known as Intel Memory Drive Technology, which is a separate product and costs extra The bundle price for the 375GB SSD of the DC P4800X Series and the virtualization software together comes to around US$5/GB Considering the average sales price of server DRAM DIMMs (currently at about US$7/GB), the bundle price is actually competitive in this respect “Intel’s new SSD line is between server DRAM DIMMs and NAND Flash server SSDs in terms of efficiency and pricing,” noted Chen “3D XPoint-based SSDs lack the performance capability to fully substitute server DRAM DIMMs However, products from the DC P4800X Series can take on the role of SCM devices and work with server DRAM DIMMs to improve the operation of the entire server system” Moreover, SSDs using 3D XPoint have several advantages over NAND Flash-based counterparts The random reading and random writing speeds of the former are faster and more consistent DC P4800X products also vastly outperform conventional NAND Flash-based SSDs on the latency and endurance indicators Disregarding the price difference, 3D XPoint-based SSDs are superior to NAND Flash-based SSDs in every aspect

Press Releases
Tight NAND Flash Supply to Cause Prices of Mainstream SSDs to Jump by More Than 10% Sequentially in First Quarter, Says TrendForce


Consumer Electronics , Semiconductors

DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, reports that client-grade SSDs of mainstream capacities continue to see rising contract prices in the PC-OEM market during this first quarter On average, contract prices of MLC-based client-grade SSDs are projected to go up by 12~16% compared with the fourth quarter of last year, while prices of TLC-based products are expected to increase by 10~16% sequentially Looking ahead to the second quarter, end device sales are anticipated to be relatively flat Furthermore, PC-OEMs are reaching their limits on SSD costs While the average prices of mainstream client-grade SSDs will keep climbing, the increase in the second quarter will likely be more moderate “Average contract prices of client-grade SSDs in the PC-OEM market are rising this first quarter because not only PC clients are aggressively stocking up their inventories, smartphone clients are also maintaining strong demand for storage components,” said Alan Chen, senior research manager of DRAMeXchange “At the same time, the industry-wide transition to 3D-NAND and 2D-NAND TLC production has sharply reduced the supply of Flash memory of the 2D-NAND MLC type Thus, the price increase of MLC-based SSDs is outpacing that of TLC-based SSDs” Chen also pointed out that SSDs are increasingly preferred by consumers due to having faster read/write speed than HDDs, so PC-OEMs will keep up their SSD purchases despite tight supply for NAND Flash and SSDs In the global notebook market, the SSD adoption rate is estimated to arrive at 45% this year Additionally, the growth in the notebook SSD adoption will be higher in the consumer-class notebook segment than the business-class segment On the other hand, the tight NAND Flash supply and sharp price hikes for SSDs will likely discourage PC-OEMs from raising storage capacity Therefore, the storage specifications for mainstream PC-OEM SSDs are expected to remain in the 128GB and 256GB options Shipments of client-grade SSDs to drop by 7~8% sequentially this first quarter DRAMeXchange finds that the SSD adoption rate in the notebook market for the fourth quarter of 2016 was around 35~36% Total worldwide client-grade SSD shipments, which included OEM and channel products for notebooks and desktops, came to 332 million units for the same period, up slightly by 2~3% from last year’s third quarter For the first quarter of 2017, shipments of client-grade SSDs are projected to suffer a sequential drop of 7~8% owing to the continuing undersupply in the NAND Flash market SSD shipments will be severely constrained in the near term as prices of TLC NAND Flash continue to be in an upswing and memory module makers lack chips in stock Global shipment share of client-grade SSDs using TLC NAND Flash to surpass 75% in 2017 A survey of products released by branded SSD vendors shows that Western Digital/SanDisk, Liteon, SK Hynix, Toshiba, Micron and Intel are already mass producing and shipping 2D- or 3D-NAND TLC products Shipment share of 2D-NAND MLC SSDs on the other hand is declining rapidly, and the sales of these products are mainly directed towards consumers that want high-end SSDs with the PCIe interface Looking at the 3D-NAND SSD segment, Samsung is still the leader as the company have shipped products based on its V3 (48-layer) solution since the fourth quarter of 2016 Micron and Intel, which are working together on 3D-NAND products, also started to ship their 3D-NAND SSDs in the fourth quarter of last year, albeit in smaller volumes Other competitors are going to reveal their respective 3D-NAND SSDs in the first half of 2017 and begin shipments in the second half of the year DRAMeXchange anticipates that the global shipment share of client-grade SSDs using TLC Flash will exceed 75% by in 2017 Moreover, 3D-NAND TLC is expected to become the mainstream Flash solution for TLC-based SSDs shipped this year As for the 2D-NAND MLC and the 3D-NAND MLC designs, they are not cost competitive and their chips are short in supply Therefore, 2D- or 3D-NAND MLC will be used mainly for high-end SSD lines With regard to interface technologies for client-grade SSDs, the adoption of PCIe by PC-OEMs (excluding Apple) will steadily increase Intel has improved PCIe support for its CPU platforms and the number of suppliers for this interface has also grown Additionally, SSD controller chip suppliers are also releasing more economical solutions for PCIe products Demand for PCIe SSDs is therefore expected to be higher in the second half of 2017 than in the year’s first half Nonetheless, a majority share of the demand in the channel market will still go to products using SATA III this year DRAMeXchange expects the penetration rate of PCIe in the client-SSD market to reach around 25% in 2017, with PCIe 30 as the market share leader for this interface type SATA III, however, will remain as the mainstream interface in the client-grade SSD market as a whole

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