According to market research firm DRAMeXchange, Samsung Electronics reached US$14.151 billion in NAND flash memory sales last year while the sales of the runner-up, Toshiba, stood at US$7.898 billion. Last year, Samsung Electronics’ NAND flash memory sales increased 34% from a year ago whereas Toshiba showed an increase of only 18.4%.
The gap in sales between the two largest players in the global NAND flash memory market had never exceeded US$6 billion until the previous year. Samsung Electronics’ overwhelming market presence is likely to continue for the time being as the company’s technology is being developed faster. Samsung Electronics succeeded in the mass production of 3D NAND flash memories for the first time in the world in 2013. It started the manufacturing of 64-layer 3D NAND chips in December last year and released 512 Gb products last month. The supply of this type of product is expected to continue to increase with orders piled up.
Meanwhile, Toshiba currently has a hard time increasing its investment in 3D NAND and developing its technology for mass production. The company is planning to expand 3D NAND facilities in Yokkaichi, Shiga Prefecture by investing 800 billion yen but industry insiders are in doubt of the progress of the plan.
The doubt is because Toshiba is looking to sell its semiconductor division in order to recover the 700 billion yen losses that have resulted from its nuclear power generation business in the United States. Toshiba Memory is scheduled to be spun-off on April 1 and proposals related to the stock sale can be submitted until March 29. Preferred bidder selection is scheduled for June and the sale is expected to be completed in late March next year.