In this case, it will be pretty interesting to watch Nanya, which is traditionally the most dynamic DRAM manufacturer in Taiwan. Right now they are very enthusiastic about wining 10% of the world memory chip market and regaining their fifth position in the world’s ranking tables. Therefore, the company promises to flood the market with their chips by increasing the production volumes of the Inotera enterprise established in cooperation with Infineon, as well as of their own facilities. The company was planning to start building a new fab for 300mm wafers processing in may already.
Elpida, however, is not very willing to leave its fifth position right now. Therefore, they are also planning to increase the production volumes: since last June they have been building their new 300mm fab worth 4 billion dollars. The company has already started purchasing equipment for this fab, and the first wafers should be produced in December 2005 already. Of course, they will be not that numerous at first: only about 16 thousand pieces in Q1 2006.
The remarkable thing is that the chips cut from these wafers will be packaged not in Japan, but in China and in Taiwan: the company is packaging only about 40% of its own chips today, and by the end of the year, it will probably quit doing that at all, taking into account the contacts signed this March. Well, this should definitely have its positive effect on the chips production cost, I assume.
However, why only Elpida? Do not forget that Nanya will have to withstand not only Elpida, but also its own fellow countrymen following close behind and even dashing ahead of Nanya every now and then. In 2004 Nanya’s share in the world DRAM market was about 4.5%, while PowerChip owned about 4.7% of the market at the same time. And these competitors are also not wasting their time: as we have recently found out, the equipment of PopwerChip’s and ProMOS’ 300mm fabs is being installed ahead of scheduler. Both fabs should be set into operation this summer already.