Articles: Memory
 

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But let’s get back to more serious things – to the fundamental parameters of the memory market at large. January, iSupply summed up the results of 2004 and found the market to have grown by a half. Nine out of the top ten manufacturers have also experienced growth by tens or hundreds percent. Quite naturally the leaders in dynamics are the outsiders like Elpida (122.8%), Powerchip (164.1%) and Elite (112.7%). Here’s the big picture:

Preliminary results of the memory market for 2004, in millions of dollars.

Rank

Company name

Revenues in 2004

Revenues in 2003

Change in %

1

Samsung

7530.7

4946.1

52.3

2

Hynix

4288.0

2548.0

68.3

3

Micron

4209.0

3305.8

27.3

4

Infineon

3723.7

2810.6

32.5

5

Elpida

1672.0

750.6

122.8

6

Powerchip

1229.7

465.7

164.1

7

ProMos/Mosel Vitelic

1165.0

728.0

60.0

8

Nanya

1164.0

795.3

46.4

9

Winbond

278.0

321.0

-13.4

10

Elite

244.0

114.7

112.7

-

Other

607.9

510.0

19.2

-

Total

26112.0

17295.8

51.0

We congratulate Hynix who has struggled its way (using its traditional dumping) to its rightful second line in the table, although with a negligible gap towards Micron that has had the worst dynamics in the top five. It’s going to be interesting to watch the situation in the Hynix-Micron-Infineon trio develop as a conscientious analyst can hardly make any prediction about the outcome.

Note also that Powerchip’s spurt helped it to overtake the usual Taiwanese leader, Nanya, and to become the major DRAM maker on the island. In 2003 Nanya had the fifth place in the list, but now its more dexterous competitors have pushed it down to the eighth. Nanya is another object for the curious analyst to be watching intently in this year.

There’s evidence that Nanya is going to have troubles ascending up the Top Performance list (of course, if no one above Nanya has any too serious problems), at least one gets this impression looking at the forecast of the capital investments of the Taiwanese DRAM makers in this year:

 

Capital expenses, in millions of dollars

2004

2005 (forecast)

Powerchip

840

1252

ProMOS

560

801

Nanya

260

260

Inotera

876

1002

Total

2534

3315

As you see, Powerchip and ProMOS keep up their tempo and even more. These data also impart some optimism about the future of Infineon (Inotera is Infineon’s and Nanya’s joint venture, and this may tell well on Nanya’s showings). The general trend is that the Taiwanese are expanding their production capacities, but this poises a few new questions.

You see, no one is waiting for any gifts from the new year. Unlike the previous year, 2005 is going to be a hard one. In December, as the first sign, the chips production volume shrunk by 2.2 percent (curiously, the production of SDRAM and DDR modules dwindled by 1.8 percent, and of DDR2 modules by 5.2 percent only).

 
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