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Press Releases
Global NAND Flash Revenue Rose 19.6% Sequentially in Third Quarter as Demand Outpaced Supply, According to TrendForce



Prices of NAND Flash rose in the third quarter as smartphone makers continued to generate robust demand for related products and the technological transition from 2D-NAND to 3-NAND manufacturing reduced the industry’s overall output The latest report from DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, finds that the revenue of the global NAND Flash industry grew 196% sequentially in the third quarter At the same time, NAND Flash suppliers made larger gains in respective their operating margins compared with the prior quarter “The NAND Flash market outlook for the fourth quarter of 2016 indicates that NAND Flash supply will be under greater strain with the advent of the peak shipment season season for end devices,” said Sean Yang, research director of DRAMeXchange “Therefore, contract prices for various NAND Flash products will see larger increases, which in turn will take suppliers’ revenues and operating margins to new highs for this year” Samsung Samsung retained its first place position in the quarterly revenue ranking as the company benefited from strong demand from Chinese smartphone brands for high-capacity eMMC and UFS products Among the suppliers, Samsung currently has the largest global market shares for high-capacity eMMC and UFS products The company is also the leader in the global eMCP market At the same time, Samsung shipments of enterprise-grade SSDs have expanded as the supplier’s solutions offer better bargain for customers Samsung’s third-quarter NAND Flash bit shipments increased by 20% compared with the prior quarter The supplier’s quarterly revenue from NAND Flash sales for the same period advanced about 20% sequentially Samsung’s revenue outlook for this fourth quarter is expected to be even better than the third Demands for eMMC, UFS and eMCP products will be at their annual peaks on account of the seasonal increase in smartphone shipments Moreover, Samsung will continue to enlarge its market shares for client- and enterprise-grade SSDs SK Hynix During the third quarter, SK Hynix also enjoyed strong demand from Chinese smartphone brands for eMMC and eMCP as well as stock-up activities related to releases of new smartphones Compared with the second quarter, SK Hynix posted a 12% increase in its NAND Flash bit shipments and a 7% increase in the average selling price (ASP) of its NAND Flash chips As a result, SK Hynix’s third-quarter NAND Flash revenue rose 203% sequentially to around US$106 billion In terms of product planning, SK Hynix will be able to boost its 3D-NAND production capacity to around 20,000~30,000 wafers per month before the end of 2016 The supplier will commence shipments of its third-generation 3D-NAND Flash in the first quarter of 2017 The supplier’s fourth-generation NAND Flash may also be ready for small-batch runs by the second half of next year Toshiba Results from Toshiba’s NAND Flash business from July to September (or the company’s fiscal second quarter for 2016) showed that the upturn in the NAND Flash market caused the supplier’s bit shipments to grow by 15% compared with the previous three-month period Moreover, there was a moderation in the decline of the supplier’s NAND Flash ASP On the whole, Toshiba’s NAND Flash revenue for its fiscal second quarter rose about 17% sequentially The supplier also saw increase in its operating margin, reflecting a steady improvement in its NAND Flash business With regard to production planning, Toshiba’s newly rebuilt facility Fab 2 at Yokkaichi (in Mie Prefecture, Japan) has been assigned to produce 3D-NAND Flash and is expected to achieve a capacity of 40,000 wafers per month during this calendar fourth quarter (October to December 2016) The capacity of Fab 2 will expand again 2017 when the facility is scheduled to begin mass production of its 64-layer 3D-NAND Flash Toshiba will also begin the construction of a new facility Fab 6 in February of 2017 Western Digital The calendar third quarter of 2016 was Western Digital’s first quarter for the company’s fiscal year of 2017 During this period, the supplier focus its investment on 64-layer 3D-NAND Flash The product is now being tested by OEM customers and is expected to be available for memory cards, USB drives and other removable storage devices at the start of this December Meanwhile, the supplier is already mass producing products carrying its 48-layer 3D-NAND Flash These items include eMMC, eMCP and other mobile and removable storage products Western Digital’s 2D-NAND Flash is mainly produced on the 15nm process and the supplier has done its utmost to optimize costs and maximize yield for the technology Hence, the 15nm 2D-NAND Flash remains a major contributor to Western Digital’s revenue growth Furthermore, Western Digital’s annual bit output for NAND Flash is forecast to increase by 45% in 2017 Micron In its fiscal fourth quarter for 2016 (from June to August), Micron posted a 13% sequential increase in its NAND Flash bit shipments and a 1% drop in its NAND Flash ASP Consequently, Micron’s revenue from non-volatile memory for its fiscal fourth quarter rose by 10% compared with the prior fiscal quarter to UD$1 billion The breakdown of Micron’s revenue also shows that the share of component base in the total sales declined slightly to 50%, while the revenue share of mobile NAND Flash product grew a little to 18% SSD’s share in the quarterly non-volatile revenue was 13% Automotive and other products represented about 19% Micron’s mobile products based on the 3D-NAND architecture have been received favorably by customers The supplier has also begun to ship client-grade SSDs carrying 3D-NAND Flash In the market for enterprise-grade SSDs, Micron’s bit shipments from June to August rose 45% compared with the prior three-month period Micron is expected to make significant improvements in the cost structure of its SSD portfolio when its TLC 3D-NAND memory accounts for the majority portion of its Flash output Intel Between the second and third quarter of 2016, Intel’s NAND Flash business saw bit shipments expanded by 25% and revenue grew by 17% to U$649 million, thereby ending three consecutive quarters of sequential decline While 2D-NAND chips made on the 16nm and 20nm processes still make up the largest share of Intel’s NAND Flash-related product mix, the supplier has begun shipments of its 3D-NAND enterprise-grade SSDs since the third quarter Intel’s current 3D-NAND enterprise-grade SSDs are considered better than the prior-generation counterparts in terms of cost to performance As for production planning, Intel’s NAND Flash fab in Dalian, China is expected to achieve 10,000 wafers per month this fourth quarter The facility’s capacity will continue to expand gradually on a quarterly basis in 2017

Press Releases
NAND Flash Prices on Upswing in Fourth Quarter as Supply Shortage Becomes More Severe, Says TrendForce



The supply shortage that persisted in the NAND Flash market during the third quarter will become more acute in the fourth quarter due to surging demand from clients in the smartphone and SSD industries, says DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce Prices of NAND Flash wafers and memory cards will certainly be on an upswing until the end of 2016, while eMMC, eMCP and SSD products are also going to see their prices go up Compared with the third quarter, NAND Flash suppliers will enjoy even higher margins and better revenue results in the fourth quarter “Smartphone demand has remained fairly strong and is the main reason why the NAND Flash market started to boom in the second half of 2016,” said Sean Yang, research director of DRAMeXchange “Sales of iPhone 7, though have not achieved records comparable to the sales of previous iPhones, have been steady and are at an expected level More importantly, the upgrade of iPhone 7’s storage options (a doubling of capacity for each of the three options) represents a several-fold increase in Apple’s consumption of NAND Flash At the same time, leading Chinese smartphone brands such as Huawei, OPPO and Vivo are placing additional order with their NAND Flash suppliers due to the brisk sales of their mid-range and high-end devices Hence, high-capacity eMMC and eMCP products are in great demand On the whole, increases in both smartphone shipments and the memory content per box for devices have led to further tightening of NAND Flash supply Demand from SSD manufacturers are also on the rise As SSDs are approaching price parity with HDDs, major PC-OEMs are installing SSDs in more of their notebooks in order to improve system performance and attract consumers’ attention DRAMeXchange estimates that the average notebook SSD adoption rate worldwide for 2016 will exceed 30% for the first time – arriving to almost 33% Likewise, enterprise grade SSDs are gradually replacing high-speed HDDs Demand for enterprise grade SSDs has been expanding rapidly in the second half of 2016, driven mainly by server manufacturers and data centers based in China and the US “Though major NAND Flash suppliers are speeding up their respective timetables for 3D-NAND Flash production, almost all of them with the exception of Samsung are currently facing challenges related to raising the yield rate and improving production efficiency,” said Yang “Furthermore, suppliers’ migration to the 3D-NAND technology has affected their 2D-NAND (planar NAND) production” Going into the fourth quarter, demand for eMMC and eMCP products, which are still mostly based on the planar architecture, will surge in connection to the rising smartphone demand This in turn will take part of the supply away from memory module makers, causing NAND Flash prices to jump even higher compared with the prior quarterly period

Press Releases
TrendForce Reports Gradual Stabilization of NAND Flash Market With Global Revenue Rising 3.4% Sequentially in Second Quarter



In the second quarter of 2016, demand for high-capacity eMMC/eMCP from Chinese smartphone brands and the stock-up activities ahead of the iPhone 7 release caused a gradual tightening of NAND Flash supply The decline in contract prices for eMMC and SSDs of both client and enterprise grade also started to ease during the same period, according to the latest report from DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce Channel prices of NAND Flash wafers have even begun to rise on a monthly basis since April Consequently, the combined global revenue of branded NAND Flash suppliers increased 34% sequentially in the second quarter This result signaled the end of revenue decline that persisted in the past two consecutive quarters Sean Yang, research director of DRAMeXchange, expects a profitable third and fourth quarter as the peak season takes hold: “Demand is rising sharply for smartphones and client-grade SSDs in this year’s second half, so NAND Flash supply is going to become increasingly tight in the third quarter As NAND Flash prices go steadily upward, DRAMeXchange expects suppliers to post further growths for their revenues and operating margins in the third quarter Sequential revenue and operating margin increases are also forecast for the fourth quarter” Samsung In the second quarter, Samsung registered a sequential increase of about 10% in its NAND Flash revenue The operating margin for the business also grew for the second consecutive quarter These results were mainly on the back of its fast-growing enterprise-grade SSD market share and increasing orders for high-capacity eMMC/UFS and eMCP products Compared with the first quarter, Samsung’s NAND Flash bit shipments expanded by about 15% Also, the supplier’s NAND Flash ASP fell by only around 5% “In terms of product strategy, Samsung has rapidly gained market share with its 3D-NAND Flash SSDs,” said Yang “The company is also the market-share leader for high-capacity eMMC/UFS and eMCP As for 3D-NAND Flash production, Samsung is continues to expand its capacity Hence, Samsung’s NAND Flash bit output for 2016 will exceed the industry’s average” Toshiba The whole of Toshiba’s New Fab 2 has begun mass production of 3D-NAND Flash and will achieve a capacity of 40,000 wafers per month in the fourth quarter The 15nm process is still Toshiba’s primary manufacturing technology and is expected to make up 80% or more of the company’s total bit shipments starting this third quarter Furthermore, the share of TLC-based products in Toshiba’s bit shipments will also increase to almost 50% in the third quarter due to major clients adding new orders at the end of the second quarter In the future, Toshiba will diversify its customer base to reduce the risk of being overly dependent on just a few main clients The company will allocate more resources to develop enterprise-grade SSDs as well as expanding its market share for client-grade SSDs DRAMeXchange projects that Toshiba’s SSD products will account for nearly 30% of the company’s NAND Flash consumption starting in the fourth quarter of this year Western Digital Western Digital (WD) continues to rely on 15nm NAND Flash products as the main revenue generator, according to its NAND Flash revenue results for the company’s 2016 fiscal fourth quarter (April to June) WD is currently accelerating the development of its 64-layer 3D-NAND Flash that has a maximum density of 512Gb per chip The company will also focus on the TLC architecture to further enhance its cost advantage On the production side, WD increased its overall NAND Flash capacity by 5% between the second and third calendar quarter The supplier’s bit shipments for 2016 will also grow by around 30% over the previous year By the end of 2017, 3D-NAND Flash is expected to constitute at least 40% of the supplier’s annual bit output “WD is a leading storage solution provider with a complete range of HDD and SSD product lines,” noted Yang SK Hynix SK Hynix’s NAND Flash revenue rose 37% sequentially in the second quarter to US$882 million Furthermore, the supplier’s bit shipments also surged 52% sequentially on account of strong demand from Chinese smartphone brands and shorter base period of the first quarter DRAMeXchange anticipates that SK Hynix will expand its shipments of eMMC/UFS and eMCP as well as enlarging its share of the SSD market Given these conditions, the supplier’s third-quarter NAND Flash bit shipments are forecast to grow about 15% compared with the prior quarter Regarding product development, SK Hynix is increasingly relying on its latest 14nm process, which is going to account for a greater share of the bit output starting in this third quarter Additionally, the supplier is projected to have a 3D-NAND capacity of around 20,000 to 30,000 wafers per month at the end of 2016 Micron Micron’s bit shipments of non-volatile memory dropped 10% sequentially in its fiscal third quarter for 2016 (from March to May), while the ASP and bit cost fell 6% and 3% respectively compared with the prior fiscal quarter In sum, the supplier’s NAND Flash revenue for its fiscal third quarter fell by almost 15% sequentially to US$908 million Micron’s Fab 10X is currently doing small-batch production of 3D-NAND Flash this third calendar quarter and is scheduled for mass production in the fourth calendar quarter Micron’s 3D-TLC SSDs with SATA interface have already been sent to major PC-OEMs for testing The supplier is also preparing to launch its second-generation 3D-NAND Flash, which is anticipated to have 30% less unit cost than the first generation As the share of 3D-NAND in Micron’s total bit shipments increases rapidly, DRAMeXchange forecasts that Micron’s NAND Flash bit shipments for 2017 will be above the industry’s average Intel Compared with the first quarter, Intel’s NAND Flash revenue fell just 05% in the second quarter to US$554 million Intel suffered a sequential ASP decline larger than 10% for all its NAND Flash products due to increasing competition in the second quarter However, the revenue decline was modest as the supplier’s quarterly bit shipments bounced back and grew over 10% sequentially Enterprise-grade SSD products based on 16nm and 20nm processes currently constitute the majority of Intel’s NAND Flash product portfolio The highly anticipated 3D-MLC enterprise-grade SSDs are going into mass production at the end of the third quarter, helping Intel to significantly improve its cost competitiveness Also, the conversion of Intel’s fab in Dalian, China, is proceeding as scheduled Equipment has been installed and the fab is currently doing trial production The plan for the fab to begin mass production and shipments in this year’s fourth quarter remains unchanged

Press Releases
2016 Flash Memory Summit Highlighted Prominence of Chinese Vendors in Flash Industry



This year’s Flash Memory Summit was held from August 9 to 11 in Santa Clara, California “For the second consecutive year, this major Flash memory industry conference held a special forum for discussing the Chinese market, with CEO of Sage Microelectronics Dr Jianjun Luo as the host,” noted Sean Yang, research director of DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce “This shows that Chinese Flash memory industry is gaining greater voice and visibility within the industry” China’s NAND Flash consumption is expanding rapidly on account of growing demand for mobile devices, mass deployment of servers and widespread establishment of data centers DRAMeXchange projects that China will claim 30% of the global NAND Flash consumption in 2017 The country’s share in the total consumption will continue to grow and exceed 40% in 2020 Thus, domestic demand is the driving force behind China’s efforts to build a complete NAND Flash industry chain “3D-NAND Flash will account for over half of the global NAND Flash market in 2018 at the latest,” said Yang “The expansion of the 3D-NAND’s market share will spur the growth of the SSD application market and increase the capacities of SSD products Furthermore, the global NAND Flash demand will maintain an annual growth rate of about 40% from 2016 to 2020 Therefore, China’s huge growth potential will attract many vendors related to the NAND Flash industry to enter the country Domestic industry participants will also be very aggressive in staking a claim in the home market " In this year’s Flash Memory Summit, the attending Chinese companies have revealed that they focusing their efforts on two major fronts One area involves the manufacturing of memory chips, while the other area is related to the development of controller chips and various SSD applications On the memory chip front, XMC is the currently the largest Chinese NAND Flash manufacturer in terms of scale and has partnered with US-based Spansion to develop 3D-NAND Flash XMC has scheduled the mass production of its first-generation 3D-NAND products in the first half of 2018 Furthermore, XMC and Tsinghua Unigroup formed Yangtze River Storage Technology this July This new holding company is expected to facilitate the efficient integration of various aspects of NAND Flash manufacturing “The Chinese are working to narrow the gap between them and major international memory suppliers, and this was reflected in their activities at the Flash Memory Summit,” said Yang “Attending Chinese industry and academic representatives, for instance, made presentations on FTL technology and Fudan University’s attempt to commercialize RRAM These topics indicated that China has a long-term strategy to develop its Flash memory industry” As for controller chips and application markets, First-tier Chinese controller chip makers including Sage Microelectronics, Memblaze and Huawei made an appearance at this year’s Flash Memory Summit Anticipating strong growth for the SSD market over the next five years, many controller vendors and SSD storage providers are strengthening their R&D capabilities, especially pertaining to whole storage equipment systems and high-speed PCIe interfaces Sage Microelectronics, Huawei and other Chinese controller chip makers want to establish their vertical industry chains, so they are developing their own IPs and building up fundamental research on memory products “Chinese controller chip makers are accelerating their efforts to develop IPs in house or obtain them through mergers and acquisitions,” added Yang “More cross-border deals and international partnerships are expected in this particular area of the NAND Flash industry within these two years”

Press Releases
Tsinghua Unigroup and XMC Team Up to Strengthen China’s NAND Flash Industry, TrendForce Reports


Consumer Electronics / Semiconductors

China’s state-backed technology conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup has acquired a majority stake in XMC, a major compatriot semiconductor manufacturer, and brought it under a new holding company called Yangtze River Storage Technology From this point on, XMC will be responsible for coordinating the development of China’s memory industry, which is wholly in pursuit of NAND Flash production “The tie-up of Tsinghua Unigroup and XMC opens up a new chapter in the development of China’s memory industry and is expected to help the country move towards the goal of self-sufficiency in memory chips,” said Sean Yang, research director of DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce “For almost a year, Chinese semiconductor companies have demonstrated flexibility in their strategic thinking and determination in executing their plans as they build up an indigenous memory industry Their abilities are getting noticed and their actions will have significant effects on the global memory market” According to DRAMeXchange, NAND Flash bit demand will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 47% from 2011 to 2016 Demand growth will remain high in the next decade on account of the strong SSD market This is also the reason why Tsinghua Unigroup and XMC have partnered up to make substantial investments in the NAND Flash industry Yang pointed out that the technology conglomerate and the semiconductor maker complement each other in many ways: “Formerly a NOR Flash manufacturer, XMC has experience in memory chip production, fab building and capacity installation Tsinghua Unigroup, on the other hand, is proficient in fund raising and merger/acquisition Together, they will be able to feed off each other strengths Furthermore, much of the available resource and capital will be funneled into the domestic memory industry This in turn would make future consolidation efforts within the industry more effective In sum, the cooperation between Tsinghua Unigroup and XMC will facilitate growth in China’s memory industry and increase its independence Internally, the industry will have better development focus On the global stage, the industry will have a stronger bargaining position The ensuing developments from this partnership deal will be worth keeping a close eye on” Currently, XMC is ahead of other domestic memory makers in the NAND Flash race Its 3D-NAND technology, which is co-developed with US-based semiconductor company Spansion, is now at the initial stage of mass production for 32-layer stacked chips With the support of the government’s National Integrated Circuitry Industry Investment Fund, XMC also announced the building of a 3D-NAND fab this March This new fab is scheduled to be in operation during the first half of 2018  Major international NAND Flash suppliers have also been busy lately Samsung continues to invest in its memory fab located in Xian, China At the same time, the South Korean memory giant is also planning a new fab for 3D-NAND products at home in the city of Pyeongtaek Western Digital and Toshiba’s New Fab 2, a facility in the Japanese city of Yokkaichi, continues to grow in capacity This 3D-NAND fab was originally a joint project between Toshiba and SanDisk, which was recently acquired by Western Digital SK Hynix currently has several plants producing NAND Flash In South Korea, the memory maker’s fab M14 will begin its second phase of 3D-NAND production in the first quarter of 2017 This is in addition to the existing NAND Flash production in M11 and M12, which are also located in the country While Micron does not plan to build any new fabs, the US memory maker is expanding its Fab 10X in Singapore “Since a fab that produces 3D-NAND Flash costs several times to build and set up than a fab making planar (2D) NAND Flash, a good option for Micron will be team up with Tsinghua Unigroup/XMC under same arrangements it has with Inotera,” said Yang “Based on this particular joint venture model, Micron will provide the technology while its partner(s) provide the capital and build the manufacturing plant Micron therefore will have gain additional capacity for a fairly long period without shouldering too much financial burden This type of teamwork is also an opportunity for Micron to catch up with Samsung and Western Digital/Toshiba in market share It will be interesting to see if Micron will seize the moment to work with Tsinghua Unigroup and XMC”

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