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Friday, May 30, 2014
NAND Flash Supplier Revenue Falls in First Quarter: TrendForce


The NAND Flash market's oversupply in 1Q and the relatively weak shipment performances of Smartphones, Tablets, and Notebooks in the season hresulted to a 6.6% drop in the branded flash suppliers revenues compared to the previous quarter.

Specifically, NAND flash suppliers saw their revenues slid to approximately US$ 7,244 million, according to Sean Yang, Assistant Vice President at DRAMeXchange, the memory and storage research division of TrendForce.

Samsung managed to retain its lead in the market with approximately US$ 2,175 million in sales, but saw its market share dip slightly to 30.0%; Toshiba came in second with a revenue total of US$ 1,548 million and an improved market share of 21.4%; SanDisk ended up in third place with US$ 1,367 million in revenue, while Micron came in fourth with US$ 1,050 million; Affected by its capacity allocations, SK Hynix's revenues slid to approximately US$ 594 million, resulting in market share of 8.2%.

Even though the weak shipments of high end smartphones in the second quarter are anticipated to impact sales of eMMC and other related products, TrendForce expects the momentum of the enterprise SSD shipments, which in 2Q 2014 is estimated to rise by at least 15%, is expected to remain strong. Samsung is currently known to already produce its entire line of PC-based eMMC and eMCP SSDs using 19nm technology. The company's Xi'an fab, whose operations officially begin in May, will focus entirely on manufacturing 3D NAND Flash components.

Toshiba's A-19 nm production ratio will also improve to approximately 50% in 2Q 2014 as it begins mass producing A-19 nm eMMC and eMCP products. In 2H 2014, the company will begin to promote its A19 nm TLC Basis eMMC and eMCP SSD products as a means to improve its market share and shipment performances. Toshiba may be able to begin volume production of its 1znm and 3D NAND Flash products as early as 1Q 2015.

SanDisk's 1ynm production ratio will exceed 50% in the second quarter, while 19nm products will be reserved for enterprise SSD and other specialty products. 1znm test production will begin in the fourth quarter, and 3D NAND flash mass production will not begin until 2016. SanDisk's bit output is projected to see 25-35% YoY growth in 2014. In 2014, SanDisk will place priority on Enterprise SSD products.

Given the sluggish demands for Mobile devices in 1Q 2014 and the fact that SK Hynix's NAND Flash capacity had yet to be fully restored, the Korean company's NAND Flash shipments were down 8% QoQ for the first quarter, while average market selling price fell by approximately 14%. In 2Q 2014, SK Hynix is expected to restore its NAND Flash capacity to 150k/m, the level before last year's fire accident, while its shipments are anticipated to rise by more than 40% as major OEM clients begin replenishing their inventories. Considering how the company is already beginning to accelerate its migration towards the 16nm process, its 16nm production ratio could rise to as high as 70% during the fourth quarter. In the second half of the year, SK Hynix's eMMC SSD products will serve as a major growth driver for NAND Flash products.

Despite the company's 35% shipment growth in 1Q 2014 and the 12% drop in its manufacturing cost, Micron's NAND Solution Group (NSG) still saw its operating profit ratio drop to 8.5% due to the 18% average selling price decline in the first quarter. Assuming additional time is needed by the company's OEM clients to verify the chips produced at its Singapore plant, the overall market momentum for SSD products will likely slow down and lead to potentially increased supplies for the retail memory card and UFD markets in 2Q 2014 and 3Q 2014. Looking at Micron's existing divisions, the company's "Storage Business Unit" is currently expected to receive portions of NSG's businesses and begin handling operations related to SSD products. The newly established "Memory Solutions Group," on the other hand, will be responsible for the development of NAND Flash chips. Micron's efforts to integrate its NAND Flash OEM products are expected to strengthen gradually throughout 2H 2014.

The demands for enterprise SSDs have increased in recent periods following the successful development of cloud computing technology and the increase in the number of US, European, and Asian data centers seeking to raise their use of SSDs. Thanks to Intel's current lead in the enterprise SSD markets, the company's NAND Flash revenue has managed to grow by an estimated 6% QoQ to US$ 510 million. In the upcoming periods, Intel will look to expand its entire enterprise SSD product line by continuing to develop PCI-E and SATA Express products, and will start raising its 20nm production ratio as a means to improve its cost competitiveness.




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