Chinese semiconductor makers started their hot pursuit of Samsung Electronics dominating the NAND flash market.
According to the semiconductor industry and market survey organization DRAM Exchange on March 23, Chinese memory manufacturer XMC began to build a 3D NAND flash fab in partnership with Spansion, an American IC design company. DRAM Exchange forecast that XMC now producing 20,000 wafers a month is planning to increase the production ten-fold to 200,000 wafers a month and will be able to roll out 3D NAND flashes as a strategic product beginning in 2018.
NAND flashes are memories that can save data with power off and are quickly replacing RAMs. Solid state drives (SSDs) are a representative NAND flash-based product. They are now installed in 30 percent of all new laptops, emerging as the maintain stream in the market. At the moment, Samsung Electronics accounts for over 40% of the 3D NAND flash market.
DRAM Exchange forecast that Samsung’s 3D NAND flashes represented by 48-layer MLC/TLC will account for 40.8 percent of the market in the second half of this year. Samsung will be followed by Micron and Intel (both 17.6 percent). Toshiba and SanDisk will take up 5.4 percent together while SK Hynix 3.3 percent. Intel began producing 3D NAND flashes by remodeling its semiconductor line in Dalian, China.
“In the current phase, only Samsung Electronics has technological power to mass-produce 3D NAND flashes commercially,” said a representative of the semiconductor industry. “But as Chinese companies are aggressively making investment, they are expected to take up about 10 percent of the total production volume in the second half of next year.”