Wednesday, November 19, 2014

China Cell Phone Growth in 2014-5

The growth of NAND flash consumption in China is a strong indication of cell phone, tablet, and other mobile products future growth in China. The prediction in the article below of

"The proportion of China's overall NAND Flash usage relative to the world's NAND Flash output... expected to hit 20.6 per cent in 2014, and 30 per cent or more in 2015."

This prediction will depend on a very high growth in mobile products

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Mobile device space lifts memory market in China

Posted: 18 Nov 2014  
China has consumed about 4.789 billion DRAM chips and 3.518 billion NAND Flash chips from the 2Gb category this year, accounting for a respective 19.2 per cent and 20.6 per cent of the world's total DRAM and NAND Flash output. This highlights the country's increasing business potential as a result of the appeal China generates in terms of consumer device markets such as PC, smartphone and tablets, indicated DRAMeXchange, a research arm of TrendForce.
China's PC DRAM consumption is presently at about 15 per cent. Benefiting from domestic demand, Lenovo has managed to raise the scale of its business operations over the years, and is acquiring other companies as a means to boost its presence among first tier manufacturers. While the company is still competing fiercely with HP for top position in the PC market, its overall PC shipments are ahead of all of its other competitors. For 2015, DRAMeXchange predicted that Lenovo's market share will arrive at about 17 per cent. As has been the case with the other markets, mobile DRAM is expected to gradually replace PC DRAM as the mainstream in China given the country's growing smartphone and tablet sales. Aside from ZTE and Huawei, which are doing relatively well overseas, most China-based smartphone brands are expected to place their focus on the domestic market. Based on TrendForce's 2014 market statistics, China alone accounts for 28 per cent of mobile DRAM's overall bit demand. The importance of China's economic development to the entire DRAM industry is expected to become more apparent next year as that proportion rises to over 40 per cent.
As the NAND Flash manufacturing processes are advancing to under 1ynm, many NAND Flash applications including smartphone and tablet-based eMMCs and notebook-based SSDs are showing improved growth in the market. Competition among global OEM manufacturers, meanwhile, is starting to become more intense, with brands other than Apple and Samsung starting to make their way into the country's lucrative market. The level of China's NAND Flash consumption has managed to grow considerably over recent years due to Lenovo's rise to prominence, the above-average growth shown by China's emerging brands, and the improving standards of China's hardware designs. By the end of 2014, DRAMeXchange projects that the NAND Flash market's total value in China will reach up to $6.3 billion. The proportion of China's overall NAND Flash usage relative to the world's NAND Flash output, on the other hand, is expected to hit 20.6 per cent in 2014, and 30 per cent or more in 2015.

China's efforts over the years to transform from a manufacturing-based to consumption-based economy has been largely successful. Given the consistent growth in its economy and the country's rising wage levels, many of the productions in China are bound to be outsourced to other emerging countries. The Chinese government's present goal is to improve the country's outlook by implementing strategic policies that are aimed at enhancing its industrial capabilities. One such policy involves increasing the imports of semiconductor components such as smartphone CPU, AP, DRAM and NAND Flash, the combined value of which exceeds the value of China's imports for oil. In the future, it would be interesting to see whether Unisplendour Corp. Ltd's (UNIS) efforts to integrate resources from Spreadtrum Communications, RDA and Intel will be successful.
Due to the relatively high proportion of CPU, DRAM and NAND Flash components imported by China, the government policies that are implemented with regard to these three product categories may prove critical to the country's industries. A few days ago, the Chinese government announced a policy worth nearly $20 billion that involves mastering the technologies at the upper streams of the country's semiconductor supply chain and applying these technologies to mid to lower streams. The main purpose behind this is to enable the country's supply chains to be more integrated and to allow momentum in China's domestic industries to persist.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Samsung 3D Process Pioneers Next Gen Semiconductor Devices

Samsung is leading the semiconductor industry with a two year leads in development of 3D NAND (see the article below).

The basic 3D process could be applied to other technologies beside flash such as DRAM memory or logic. It enable increasing the number of the transistors on each dies without the need to shrink the design rules below 20nm.

It is a key advantages since you do not need to develop the very difficult EUV photolitography.

More about 3D NAND in August 2013 blog - Samsung’s 1Tb SSD: 3D Vertical NAND

It make sense for Samsung to apply 3D Flash first to enterprise SSD, where the growth rate is +40%.

See also Applied Materials development work on advance patterning  - Applied Materials Develops Advanced Patterning Solution for Memory Devices

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An aerial view of Samsung's Hwaseong plant.
10 NOVEMBER 2014
Samsung Electronics is working to strengthen its position in the SSD market by increasing the profitability of its semiconductor memory business.
According to industry sources on Nov. 9, Samsung established a strategy to choose 3-bit V-NAND-based SSD as a new growth engine of its semiconductor memory business.
Since the productivity of 3-bit V-NAND is twice as high as 10 nm class planar NAND flash, the V-NAND is superior in price competitiveness, data processing speed, durability, and power efficiency. Thus, if the 3-bit V-NAND is featured in SSDs, it will increase the performance and price competitiveness of SSDs.
After its success in having a system to mass produce 3-bit V-NAND at the company's semiconductor plant in Hwaseong City near Seoul early last month, the Korean chip maker started to prepare for mass production at its 3D V-NAND production facility in Xian, China.
Considering that it normally takes six months to expand a mass production system to other plants, the industry anticipates that 3-bit V-NAND will be mass produced starting in May or April of next year.
The semiconductor plant in Hwaseong City produces mainly planar NAND flash for mobile devices, and thus it manufactures less than 100,000 V-NAND 300 mm wafers per month.
In contrast, the 3D V-NAND production facility in Xian, which commenced full operations in May, manufactures 300,000 to 400,000 sheets each month. However, the facility is considered to have capacity to produce more than 700,000 sheets.
Samsung aims to strengthen its dominant position in the market by increasing its share in the SSD market through the use of 3-bit V-NAND in SSDs.
The Korean company revealed that it will feature 3-bit V-NAND in SSDs starting next year at a conference call, following its announcement of results for the third quarter at the end of October.
Samsung's decision can be interpreted to mean that it intends to widen the gap with its rival companies in the global market by featuring 3-bit V-NAND in SSDs used in a data center environment and SSDs for PCs.
Market research firm IHS Technology recently reported that the world's largest memory chip maker will record US$3.277 billion in sales from SSDs in 2014, a 60 percent year-on-year gain. Its market share is expected to increase from 26 percent to 29 percent this year, which will put the firm in the top spot, followed by Sandisk with a 19 percent share, Intel (18 percent), Toshiba (9 percent), and Micron Technology (8 percent).
Currently, Samsung is the only company in the world that produces 3D V-NAND flash memory chips. The gap with rival companies in technology is generally acknowledged to be more than two years.
- See more at:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TSMC, MediaTek and Hynix,Sales >20% in 2014

IC Insights report on top 20 Semiconductor sale leaders below. TSMC is benefiting from manufacturing A7 for Apple iPhone.

MediaTek from low price smart phones and its merge with MStar. More about MediaTek in January 2013 blog Apples' Cook in China (MediaTek Impact) .

Hynix maybe is benefiting from it recovery from last year Fab fire.

As usually SanDisk is not included in this IC Insights which already had $5.66B sales in 2011. More about SanDisk in earlier blog Top 25 2011 Semiconductor Sales Ranking

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Nine of the Top 20 Semiconductor Suppliers are Forecast to Register Double-Digit Growth in 2014!

TSMC, MediaTek, and SK Hynix’s sales are each expected to jump by >20% this year.

Later this month, IC Insights’ November Update to The 2014 McClean Report will show a forecast ranking of the 2014 top 25 semiconductor suppliers with the companies’ sales broken down on a quarterly basis.  A preview of the forecast for the top 20 companies’ total 2014 sales results is presented in Figure 1.  The top 20 worldwide semiconductor (IC and O S D—optoelectronic, sensor, and discrete) sales ranking for 2014 includes eight suppliers headquartered in the U.S., three in Japan, three in Europe, three in Taiwan, two in South Korea, and one in Singapore, a relatively broad representation of geographic regions.

This year’s top-20 ranking includes two pure-play foundries (TSMC and UMC) and six fabless companies.  Pure-play IC foundry GlobalFoundries is forecast to be replaced in this year’s top 20 ranking by fabless IC supplier Nvidia.  It is interesting to note that the top four semiconductor suppliers all have different business models.  Intel is essentially a pure-play IDM, Samsung a vertically integrated IC supplier, TSMC a pure-play foundry, and Qualcomm a fabless company.

IC foundries are included in the top 20 ranking because IC Insights has always viewed the ranking as a top supplier list, not as a marketshare ranking, and realizes that in some cases semiconductor sales are double counted.  With many of our clients being vendors to the semiconductor industry (supplying equipment, chemicals, gases, etc.), excluding large IC manufacturers like the foundries would leave significant “holes” in the list of top semiconductor suppliers.  Foundries and fabless companies are clearly identified in Figure 1.  In the April Update to The McClean Report, marketshare rankings of IC suppliers by product type were presented and foundries were excluded from these listings.

As shown, it is expected to require total semiconductor sales of over $4.2 billion to make the 2014 top 20 ranking. In total, the top 20 semiconductor companies’ sales are forecast to increase by 9% this year as compared to 2013. However, when excluding the two pure-play foundries (TSMC and UMC) from the ranking, the top “18” semiconductor companies’ sales are forecast to increase by 8% this year, the same rate as IC Insights’ current forecast for total 2014 worldwide semiconductor market growth.

Figure 1
Outside of the top six spots, there are numerous changes expected within the 2014 top-20 semiconductor supplier ranking.  In fact, of the 14 companies ranked 7th through 20th, 10 of them are forecast to change positions in 2014 as compared with 2013 (with NXP expected to jump up two spots).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

iPhone A8, A9 - Samsung or TSMC

It would make sense economically and to secure their supply for Apple to manufacture chips both in Samsung and TSMC. see iPhone A8, A9 and Second Sources.

Insightful, timely, and accurate semiconductor consulting.
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Samsung and TSMC Reportedly Still Competing for Rights to Produce Apple's A9 Chip

Tuesday November 4, 2014 1:57 AM PST by Richard Padilla

Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) are still competing for the rights to produce Apple's next-generation A9 chip as a primary supplier is expected to be named by the end of this year, reports Digitimes.

According to the report, Samsung has offered Apple lower pricing quotes in an attempt to secure the rights to produce the A9. The company is also willing to produce other chips like flash memory and perform optimization services in-house. Samsung was the longtime producer of Apple's A-series chips until Apple struck a deal with TSMC to produce its chips last year.

Last month, Samsung semiconductor head Kim Ki-nam announced that the company would begin work on 14-nanometer processors for Apple, indicating that the Korean company may have already won the bid to produce the next-generation A9 chip. However, it is also possible that both companies could share the production load as Apple looks to diversify its supply chain even further to better fit its production needs.

Last year, it was reported that Apple signed a contract with Samsung to handle 30% to 40% of total A9 chip production, as TSMC would be handling the rest of the production load. Apple's A9 chip would presumably be featured in next year's line of iPhones and iPads, as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus currently use the 20-nanometer A8 processor. The iPad Air 2 uses a more powerful triple-core A8X chip which is up to 55% faster than the A8 chip found in the iPhone 6.