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keyword:Sean Yang55 result(s)

Press Releases
TrendForce Expects the Flourishing Chinese NAND Flash Industry to Spur the Growth of Domestic Controller Chip Manufacturing

2016/02/22

Semiconductors

China’s NAND Flash industry witnessed a steady growth in investments through 2015 As Chinese semiconductor companies build up their memory manufacturing capabilities at the wafer level, they are also beginning to pay greater attention to the production of controller chips for memory products DRAMeXchange, the memory division of global research firm TrendForce, believes that the Chinese semiconductor sector will focus on controller houses in its next phase of development due to the component’s vital position in the NAND Flash chain “Besides pursuing the business model of selling controllers, most Chinese NAND controller houses put priority upon total SSD solutions to meet market demands,” said Sean Yang, research director at DRAMeXchange “Enterprise storage providers, government agencies and national defense industries are target/primary customers of these products as they have been working closely with or investing in domestic controller chip suppliers In terms of the overall product strategy, the Chinese NAND Flash industry is betting on SSD solutions using the next-generation PCIe bus (as well as the NVMe controller in particular) as the market mainstream in the near future” Since the Chinese government committed to the development of the domestic semiconductor sector with the storage industry as the cornerstone, participants of the NAND Flash chain will now concentrate on funding, markets and product lineups “The number of domestic NAND controller houses and other related participants will swell and the scope of product applications will extend from the enterprise to the consumer markets,” said Yang Below is a brief analysis of several important NAND controller houses based in China: Sage Microelectronics Sage Microelectronics, listed in the Chinese stock exchange, started to attract the interests of domestic investors in 2015, when it acquired US-based bridging chip marker Initio and gained crucial interface technologies (ie SATA, USB and SAS) With in-house controller chips and a complete product lineup, Sage is now one of the leading Chinese NAND controller houses and has a strong offering of enterprise products with SATA 20 interface and military-grade storage solutions This year, Sage plans to widen its lead over its competitors by rolling out controller chips for SSDs with SATA 30 and PCIe interfaces Shandong Huaxin Shandong Huaxin is one of the very few domestic controller chip and SSD suppliers that specialize in storage solutions for data security The company’s position in the domestic market was significantly strengthened last year when its controller chips passed tests conducted by China’s State Commercial Cryptography Administration (OSCCA) Currently, Shangdong Huaxin’s main products are complete SSD solutions for businesses, government agencies, energy industry and defense industry These SSD products use the SATA 30 interface and are compliant with the national encryption standard (which is based on domestic versions of algorithm security from SM1 to SM4) With a significant presence in applications that require strong security measures, Shandong Huaxin has been a strong promoter of the localization of storage equipment manufacturing Its products are also first to become compatible with server processors from compatriot brands such as Inspur and Loongson Memblaze Beijing-headquartered Memblaze is one of the hottest investment targets in the Chinese NAND Flash industry The company managed to raise hundreds of millions of US dollars from Qualcomm Ventures and General Technology Venture Capital during its Series C funding round Memblaze’s strategy in the storage market is to provide highly efficient PCIe-based SSDs for enterprises Its PBlaze 3 series, for instance, is known for their exceptional IOPS performance The latest PBlaze 4 series, which was released last year, have also strengthened Memblaze’s position in the server and the large-scale data center markets Among the domestic SSD makers, Memblaze is one of the few that are capable of developing data protection and encryption software for products using the NVMe controller  Shannon Systems Shannon Systems, China-based NAND controller house, was acquired by Taiwan-based Silicon Motion for US$575 million in 2015 The company continues to serve as a major supplier of PCIe-based SSDs Its main clients are domestic cloud computing and data center providers, including Alibaba The acquisition has also boosted Shanon Systems’ R&D capability, which will be directed towards the development of additional PCIe products in the near future (eg Enterprise-SSDs and storage arrays for clouding computing and IoT businesses) Hunan Goke Microelectronics A specialist in high-end, enterprise grade Flash solutions, Goke Microelectronics is the first domestic NAND controller house to receive backing from China’s National Integrated Circuitry Industry Investment Fund The IC design company introduced a SSD controller chip that supports both PCIe 20 and SATA 30 interfaces this January and plans to develop eMMC products for domestically made tablets and smartphones Huawei Aside from being a major player in China’s server and data center markets, Huawei is also pushing its semiconductor subsidiary HiSilicon to manufacture SSDs and SSD controller chips The motivation behind the accelerated in-house effort is to improve the capability of Huawei-branded server products Huawei launched its first SSD controller chip Hi811 in the first half of 2015 This was followed by the release of its NVMe-based SSD, the ES3600, in the second half of the year By that time, Huawei’s controller chip already went through another upgrade, with the latest generation being the Hi812 Unlike other domestic NAND Flash solution providers, there is no pressure for Huawei to market its ware to outside clients The Chinese electronic giant has its own server and data base businesses that support the development of controller chips and related products, and this in turn also reduces Huawei’s reliance on foreign SSD suppliers Establishing a vertically integrated chain for server and storage equipment will furthermore enhance the competitiveness of Huawei’s products Yang believes that the demand for Enterprise-SSDs will be stronger than Client-SSDs in the future, so Huawei’s in-house manufacturing of controller chips and storage products will have a significant impact on the entire NAND Flash industry

Press Releases
TrendForce Forecasts Limited Growth in Global NAND Flash Revenue Next Year Due to Economic Uncertainties

2015/12/14

Semiconductors

The latest survey from DRAMeXchange a division of TrendForce, finds that increase in both SSD demand and average memory density of end devices will contribute to a 44% year-on-year growth of bit demand in global NAND Flash market in 2016 On the supply side, NAND Flash suppliers will step up their efforts in cost reduction and in development of 3D-NAND Flash to stimulate demand Therefore, the global NAND Flash bit output for 2016 will also surge 50% year on year, based on DRAMeXchange’s estimation “Market supply will greatly exceed demand next year, causing sharper price decline,” said Sean Yang, DRAMeXchange research director “Our forecast for 2016 indicates that worldwide revenue of NAND Flash industry will grow by just 02% year on year to US$266 billion Suppliers are expected to face increasing pressure on their operating margins” DRAMeXchange foresees the following trends to influence the NAND Flash industry in 2016: Industry’s attention will be focused on the progression of 3D-NAND Flash development Next year will be a critical period for suppliers in terms of technology migration and product mix adjustment The backend testing and assembly, in particular, will encounter a bottleneck as it tries to catch with the frontend wafer manufacturing, which adopted 15nm/16nm processes as the mainstream technology in the third quarter of 2015 Moreover, Samsung is already mass producing 3D-NAND Flash memory and has successfully used this technology to capture a share of the SSD market Rival suppliers therefore are under pressure to speed up their 3D-NAND Flash development efforts For next year, DRAMeXchange estimates that the NAND Flash industry will achieve around 167 million wafer starts (sized around 12-inch) in total, up 12% year on year The acceleration in the development of 3D-NAND Flash will propel bit supply growth by a whopping 50% year on year, its highest in four years Yang also noted: “Though 3D-NAND Flash is expected to account for just 11% of the total NAND Flash output in the fourth quarter of 2015, the share will rise rapidly to 30% by the end of 2016 This in turn will lower the costs of SSDs, leading to an increase in the SSD adoption among OEM system vendors” Chinese semiconductor companies will be pivotal to the development of NAND Flash industry as they gradually implement their roadmaps Chinese semiconductor companies are becoming vertically integrated, extending their presence across the NAND Flash supply chain, from up- to downstream Hence, they are expected to have a crucial role in the transformation of the industry in the next three to five years China’s huge semiconductor market has also enticed NAND Flash suppliers from abroad to make increasingly large investments in building and upgrading fabs in the country Samsung, for instance, is expanding its fab in Xian, while Intel will be converting its fab in Dalian from making logic ICs to making NAND Flash memory Based on DRAMeXchange’s projection, approximately 8% of the total NAND Flash wafers from major international suppliers will be manufactured in China by the end of 2016, and the country’s share in global production will increase further at a rapid pace  Average memory density of NAND Flash products in end devices will continue to rise; SSDs will lead the demand Yang added that with various consumer electronics products seeing limited shipment growth, NAND Flash demand next year will be based on increasing the content per box Moreover, decline NAND Flash prices will accelerate In sum, DRAMeXchange estimates that the average density of both Client-SSD and smartphone eMMC products will increase at least 30% year on year in 2016 SSD prices in general have fallen rapidly on account of the momentum in 3D-NAND Flash development and rising penetration of TLC technology This downtrend benefits the Client-SSD market as PC-OEMs are now more willing to buy SSDs and design PC products that carry SSDs DRAMeXchange projects that the penetration of SSD-equipped products in the notebook market for 2015 will reach about 27% By the end of 2016, 128GB SSDs are forecast to cost less than 500GB HDDs and prices of 256GB will almost match those of 1TB HDDs At that time, the SSD penetration in the notebook market is also expected to exceed 30% Also, the surging demand for data center services will also maintain strong growth in the Enterprise-SSD market Total bit consumption of NAND Flash from all SSD products will jump by 35% year on year in 2016, based on DRAMeXchange’s estimation Thus, SSDs will contribute the most to overall NAND Flash demand next year compared with other categories of end device products

Press Releases
NAND Flash Revenue Growth Slowed in Third Quarter as Prices Showed Steep Decline, According to TrendForce

2015/11/19

Semiconductors

The latest report from DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, finds that NAND flash prices fell rapidly in the third quarter, resulting in a mere 24% quarterly increase in the global NAND Flash revenue Sean Yang, assistant vice president of DRAMeXchange, said demand was uncharacteristically weak in the third quarter and did not adhere to the seasonal pattern NAND Flash end demand was below expectations due to macroeconomic factor This resulted in oversupply and sharp price decline in the NAND Flash market, putting heavy pressures on NAND Flash suppliers’ revenue growth and margins DRAMeXchange expects the suppliers’ revenue situation to remain difficult during the fourth quarter because of the persisting oversupply problem  Samsung Both the OEM system product and the retail memory card markets saw a significant drop in their average selling prices due to weak demand This had a negative impact on Samsung’s NAND Flash revenue in the third quarter Compared with the second quarter, the supplier’s bit growth was up 15% but its revenue fell by 1% to US$268 billion The supplier’s operating margin also suffered a quarterly decrease In terms of product strategy, Samsung’s 3D-NAND Flash SSD and 16nm eMMC/eMCP product lines are ready The supplier will be focusing on the promotion and sales of high-density SSD and eMMC/eMCP products to extend its lead over its competitors Toshiba Toshiba’s NAND Flash revenue grew by 10% in the third quarter because of several factors First, Toshiba’s 15nm output increased and exceeded 50% of its total NAND Flash production At the same time, Toshiba’s strategic clients released their latest smartphones, and this in turn caused the shipments of the supplier’s 15nm TLC Mobile-NAND to pick up Furthermore, server and PC vendors completed the sampling of Toshiba’s SSD products As for Toshiba’s technology and production plans, Fab 2 equipment is being moved in and tested Fab 2 is scheduled to do small batch runs of 3D-NAND Flash in the first quarter of 2016 Fab 5, which mainly produces MLC and TLC chips, will also begin pilot production of 3D-NAND Flash on an upgraded process during next year’s first quarter SanDisk SanDisk saw a massive 49% quarterly increase in NAND Flash sales bit growth in the third quarter, even though its average selling price dropped 22% The growth in bit sales was attributed to stock up demand of embedded products following the market release of new smartphones The averaging selling cost fell by 24%, pushing the supplier’s NAND Flash revenue up by 18% quarterly to US$131 billion The declining average selling cost also helped lifted the supplier’s gross margin from 39% in the second quarter to 42% in the third The increase gross margin came after three consecutive quarters of falling figures Almost 60% of SanDisk’s NAND Flash production came from the 15nm process in third quarter The supplier’s bit output is expected to increase by 40~45% in 2015 However, SanDisk’s annual bit output growth for 2016 will be slightly lower than the industry average because the supplier’s 3D-NAND development schedule will interfere with the production Moreover, SanDisk will not significantly increase its NAND Flash capacity next year SK Hynix In the third quarter, the average selling price of NAND Flash from SK Hynix fell 15% This quarterly slide was due to weak demand and a rapid increase in the share of TLC chips in the supplier’s total output Consequently, SK Hynix NAND Flash revenue fell 47% to US$927 million, while its bit supply volume jumped by 15% Looking at the supplier’s product mix, SSD and embedded OEM products currently account for nearly 90% of total output Demand has picked up since the supplier’s strategic clients released their new smartphones in the third quarter, and the supplier has also steadily expanded its shipments of TLC chips made on the 16nm process TLC output is expected to account for 40% of the total production by the end of the year SK Hynix has also managed to get a number of its TLC products verified by the module makers and will be ramping up TLC chip production for various applications (eg USB, SSD) in this fourth quarter Micron Micron continued its product mix adjustment in its fiscal fourth quarter, which was from June to August For that period, the supplier’s NAND Flash revenue totaled US$118 billion The supplier’s bit supply volume and average selling price for NAND Flash fell by 6% and 1% respectively compared with the third fiscal quarter (from March to May) Micron’s storage business unit (SBU) also saw a slight quarterly decline in its operating margin In addition to developing more enterprise and client-SSD product lines, Micron has gotten its TLC products verified by strategic partners in the memory module industry Mass production and shipments have started in this year’s calendar fourth quarter (from October to December)The share of TLC products in Micron’s total output is expected to reach 20% in the first half of next year as well Looking at technology, Micron is advancing rapidly to 3D-NAND Flash manufacturing The supplier is also on track in moving in equipment into its new fab in Singapore by next year The share of 3D-NAND in Micron’s total production will expand quickly and may surpass 30% in the second half of 2016 Intel Intel’s third-quarter NAND Flash revenue totaled US$663 million, down 03% from the second the quarter The slight decrease was attributed to strategic clients stocking up earlier in the second quarter and the rapidly declining average selling price In terms of NAND Flash production strategy, Intel will strengthen its ties with its supply partner Micron and convert its chipset fab in Dalian, China, into a 3D-NAND fab Intel, which sets its sights on future SSD opportunities in China, has therefore become the second NAND Flash supplier to invest in a wafer fab in the country

Press Releases
Chinese to Play a Significant Role in NAND Flash Industry in Next 2~3 Years with Their Sizable Investments, According to TrendForce

2015/11/10

Semiconductors

Led by state-backed conglomerate Tsinghua Unigroup, which has accelerated its investments in NAND Flash manufacturers, the Chinese semiconductor sector is set to play a pivotal role in the global NAND Flash industry as it is close to completing this particular industry chain Though NAND Flash market is weak in short term due to oversupply, growth in various applications has been very rapid from the long-term perspective, said Sean Yang, assistant vice president of DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce NAND Flash is certain to become the core technology in the development of the storage and memory industries in the near future as the number of consumer electronic products carry SSDs and eMMCs increases TrendForce expects that the Chinese semiconductor sector will latch on to this trend and gradually establish a substantial presence in the global NAND Flash production in the next two to three years Yang added that the Chinese NAND Flash strategy has become more meticulous and is comprised of five major approaches  1 Expansion of investments in China by major international NAND Flash manufacturers: Among international NAND Flash suppliers, Samsung has made the most progress developing the Chinese market The company has rapidly gained share in the global SSD market with products carrying 3D-NAND Flash chips made in its Xian fab With this success, Samsung plans to further raise the capacity of Xian fab and anticipates the production facility to be operating at its fullest capacity by the first phase of expansion next year Intel too will begin producing 3D-NAND Flash chips in the second half of next year at its Dalian fab, which being converted from a processor fab to a memory fab 2 Filling of the capability gaps via acquisitions and investments: With the most aggressive record, Tsinghua Unigroup has become a prominent example of the surge in Chinese deal-making in the semiconductor sector With a majority stake in Western Digital (WD), Tsinghua Unigroup will be able to indirectly take part in the NAND Flash industry from SanDisk’s merger with WD The Chinese conglomerate also announced a deal to buy 25% of Powertech on October 30 By becoming Powertech’s largest shareholder, Tsinghua Unigroup will obtain crucial technologies and resources for the packaging and testing of memory products 3 Support for the development of domestic NAND Flash technologies: Major Chinese foundries, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) and XMC, are currently the most proactive among their domestic peers; and their respective technologies, products and strategies are steadily maturing XMC in particular is poised to create an impact in the NAND Flash industry in the next two to three years as it is working on the advanced 3D-NAND Flash 4 Integration of NAND Flash controller supply chain: Development of controller chips and firmware will be very important for the Chinese storage industry These components have to meet the national standard on information security that was clearly established for the industry The technical capabilities of Chinese controller chip manufacturers have advanced to a certain level with the takeoff of the domestic market and are rapidly gaining international visibility 5 Acceleration of vertical integration within the industry: A noteworthy example is the strategic partnership between Chinese memory module maker Netcom and Marvell, a major supplier of controller chips As a fabless IC design house seeking to develop the Chinese SSD market, Marvell will take advantage of Netcom’s complete production chain in Suzhou Such cross-industry alliances will strengthen the links among suppliers at different levels, allowing them to specialize and maximize their profits

Press Releases
WD’s Acquisition of SanDisk Will Further Accelerate SSD Penetration, Says TrendForce

2015/10/22

Semiconductors

Western Digital (WD), a major manufacturer of traditional hard disks, announced on October 21 that it will acquire SanDisk, a leading NAND Flash storage solution provider, for a total of US$19 billion This acquisition, which is set to complete before of the end of next year’s third quarter, is considered the largest of such deals in the Flash storage industry during recent years According to research by DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, the demand growth of SSD products has shot up in the past two years Moreover, the share of the SSD application in the total NAND Flash demand worldwide is projected to expand from 30% in 2015 to 35% in 2016, becoming the most rapidly growing and highly contested end market for this memory technology Consequently, semiconductor and digital companies have been quick to form alliances and conduct mergers in order to strengthen their positions in the SSD market DRAMeXchange Assistant Vice President Sean Yang said companies with crucial technologies to SSD production have been the takeover targets for larger storage solution providers and NAND Flash memory suppliers in recent years This latest deal is a win-win for both sides For WD, the rise of the SSD market has accelerated the development of related storage equipment WD’s acquisition targets in the past three years were all developers of core technologies related to NAND Flash memory WD’s success in acquiring SanDisk is crucial to its plan to dominate the SSD market as this target is the lynchpin to its strategy SanDisk has wafer and memory module fabs, so it has been a major supplier of NAND Flash memory as well as a branded vendor of related products Additionally, SanDisk had previously kept expanding its production capacity and technology portfolio with its own acquisitions, targeting companies related to SSD and NAND storage applications since 2006 SanDisk not only has the most advanced IPs and capacity to produce NAND Flash memory, it also holds key technologies on Enterprise-SSDs Once the integration of both companies is complete, they will become the most wide-ranging, comprehensive storage solution provider in the industry The new WD will lead in both HDD and SSD technologies as well as having a competitive advantage in NAND Flash production Since NAND Flash accounts for the greatest part of a SSD product’s total cost, SanDisk’s capacity will turn out to be WD’s most valuable asset WD will continue the joint venture that SanDisk has with Toshiba, and there is no indication that WD will introduce significant changes to the original strategic partnership that has lasted for 15 years On the other hand, the newly integrated WD will step up efforts to develop 3D-NAND and other more advanced non-volatile memory (NVM) technologies, setting up more rigorous schedules for the production of new products From SanDisk’s perspective, WD’s previous acquisitions can improve its own equity, which is good for the shareholders in both companies Recently, Tsinghua Unigroup became the largest shareholder of WD by buying a 15% stake in the company for US$38 billion The state-backed Chinese tech conglomerate will thus be able to indirectly obtain SanDisk’s NAND Flash resources and technologies after both companies are fully integrated DRAMeXchange believes the Chinese government will continue to channel investment efforts into developing the domestic memory industry This in turn will create more incidences of horizontal and vertical integrations in the NAND Flash industry in near future as China moves closer to its goal In the wider SSD market, the Enterprise-SSD segment is seeing strong growth due to a sharp decline in the overall SSD cost and developments in the cloud computing application For the PC application, SSD penetration in notebooks is estimated rise substantially from 26% in 2015 to 36% in 2016 as vendors follow Apple’s lead in furnishing their notebooks with SSDs The SSD penetration in the high-end, commercial notebook market may even surpass 50% next year At the same time, more mid-range and low-end models are also adopting this piece of technology Yang said, the ongoing consolidation in the SSD and NAND Flash industries means that the leading solution providers are going to get stronger, putting more pressure on the smaller competitors Hence, more mergers and acquisitions are expected in the future

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