Thursday, November 8, 2012

Smartphone shipments continue to increase, pushing mobile DRAM growth to 15.4 percent in 3Q

TAIWAN: According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of global market research firm TrendForce, the decline of the PC industry has led to decreased revenue for DRAM makers worldwide.

As a result, top-tier memory makers are aggressively expanding in the mobile DRAM sector, and mobile DRAM output is expected to account for 21 percent of total DRAM production this year, and nearly 30 percent in 2013.

Benefitting from strong smartphone sales and new tablets hitting the market in the third quarter, mobile DRAM shipments are on the rise, and revenue has seen 15.4 percent growth since the previous quarter. The mobile DRAM revenue ranking results are similar to last quarter’s, with Samsung and SK Hynix taking 70 percent of the global market. Elpida, however, has seen a revenue surge due to increased orders from Apple.

Samsung still takes crown
As Samsung’s own smartphone brand is already number one in global shipments, with a stable outlet for its mobile DRAM products, Samsung’s mobile memory market share rose slightly in the third quarter, to 52.3 percent. Mobile DRAM output accounts for approximately 45 percent of the Korean maker’s total memory revenue, the highest ratio of all Samsung’s memory products.

SK Hynix’s mobile DRAM market share increased to 21.2 percent in the third quarter. SK Hynix’s mobile DRAM accounts for 32 percent of total memory revenue. The Korean maker benefitted from the legal disputes between Apple and Samsung, as Apple increased orders with SK Hynix.

Strong iPhone 5 shipments and increasing demand from low to mid-level smartphones have resulted in SK Hynix’s mobile DRAM revenue growing by more than 30 percent in the third quarter, giving the supplier even more comprehensive product lines.

With Apple's boost, Elpida close behind SK Hynix
Elpida’s mobile DRAM market share was 20.8 percent for the third quarter. While still in third place, the Japanese manufacturer saw the largest revenue increase of all suppliers this quarter, largely due to orders from Apple. As the iPhone 5’s memory is increased to 8Gb and the new iPad mini has hit the market, Elpida will likely continue to enjoy the revenue surge for some time.

Micron’s mobile DRAM market share was 4.2 percent, with mobile memory revenue falling by 27.2 percent compared to the previous quarter. Currently, volume production has begun for Micron’s 30nm LPDDR2 products, and revenue should see a boost next year as the merger with Elpida is complete.

Taiwanese suppliers restructuring; product selection
Winbond’s mobile DRAM revenue ratio was roughly the same as in the previous quarter,  although market share fell by 1.3 percent. Nanya has announced it will gradually back out of the commodity DRAM market to become a specialty DRAM manufacturer. The supplier is also making plans for mobile DRAM production.

Although Nanya’s 30nm LPDDR2 is ready for volume production, to avoid having to compete against major international makers, in the early stages Nanya will focus mainly on manufacturing low to medium-density mobile DRAM products, hoping to profit from non-mainstream products.

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