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Samsung Electronics sustained its position as the world’s largest manufacturer of DRAM and even increased its share a bit in 2004 compared to the previous year. At the same time Micron and Infineon could not leave their Asia-based rivals behind in terms of shipments growth, a recent market research.

Overall, the DRAM market grew 61% to $26.8 billion in 2004.  Five of the top eight companies in the list grew at a faster rate than the overall DRAM market and three grew at a slower rate than the total DRAM market.

Samsung retained its DRAM leadership in this market by increasing its DRAM sales 66% to $8.3 billion, which led to 31% market share. Samsung, which had focused much of its manufacturing capacity on flash memory in 2003, placed additional emphasis on its DRAM business in 2004. The company is well poised for the advent of DDR2-generation DRAMs devices and remains a leading provider of other high-density DRAMs as well, according to IC Insights.

Hynix has built a strong and visible DRAM presence in China and much of the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.  Its strength in this region helped offset obligatory DRAM duties that were first imposed by the U.S. and European governments in 2003.

Micron, Infineon and Nanya did not demonstrate supply growth inline with other makers and the market. At the same time Powerchip Semiconductor, Elpida, ProMOS and Hynix posted 159%, 119%, 80% and 72% shipments growth in 2004 over the previous year, well above the overall market expansion of 61% annually.

IC Insights notes that the U.S., Europe, and Japan are each now home to only one leading DRAM manufacturer – Micron, Infineon and Elpida. Back in 1991, Japanese companies represented five of the top-ten DRAM producers.  In 2004, two South Korean companies, Samsung and Hynix, accounted for almost half, 46%, of DRAM market share, while three Taiwan-based companies joined the DRAM “billion-dollar” club for the first time.

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