In the memory chips market a few interesting things have shaped up. According to the Q2 2005 results, Hynix regained its second position in the ranks of the world memory market, however now they seem to have faced some difficulties with the continuous growth of its production volumes. It looks like they will have to resort to help from third parties, even though they tried to reduce third-party participation to minimum, because with the shift to 90nm production process Hynix testing capacities are no longer sufficient and so is ProMOS’ success in mastering 90nm technology.
Infineon may also have some problems with further growth: their partners, such as Winbond and SMIC, transfer more and more of their capacities to flash memory and other niche products. Even Nanya has been getting much more memory orders from HP and Dell lately, so they will hardly have time to ship anything to the Germans now. Although, I don’t think Infineon should be worried about it: some time ago they started re-conservation of their Richmond fab, which will be right in time these days.
Anyway, it is very interesting to watch what’s going on: the market is growing so fast that the manufacturers can hardly handle it, mostly because of the insufficient testing capacities. Although they are really doing their best, and this is the second interesting observation this month. Within this tendency, Elpida and some other active players of the testing services market, such as Kingston, Powertech and Advantest, announced their new joint venture called Tera probe, which should become one of the largest players here. Looks like Elpida also suffers from significant shortage of wafer testing capacities.
Especially, since their satellite, Powerchip, that set into operation their second 300mm fab in the beginning of this summer, announced their intention to start building two more fabs like that! And they are going to start the construction in early next year already. Keep in mind that this is besides their fab construction in mainland China. Well, looks like they intend to make sure that the infrastructure is expanded enough in advance.