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TrendForce: System Product Prices Remain Steady, Branded NAND Flash Manufacturers’ Revenue Rises by 8.8% in 3Q13

5 November 2013 Semiconductors Sean Yang

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the NAND Flash manufacturers' Q3 revenues have remained on a steady uptrend despite the absence of any obvious upward pricing movements in the third quarter. This is mainly attributable to the limited growth in the NAND Flash vendors' output as well as the steady rise of smartphone and tablet products, a trend which enabled eMMC and Client SSD contract prices to remain relatively unchanged from Q2. The Q3 revenues of the branded NAND Flash manufacturers, all in all, amount to US$ 6.281 billion, an 8.8% increase compared the previous quarter and a growth of 35% from 3Q12.

Looking specifically at the branded NAND Flash manufacturers' rankings, Samsung's revenues have reached US$ 2.413 billion in Q3, which gives it 38.4% of the market and allows it to remain in first place; Toshiba is second on the list with a revenue of approximately US$ 1.812 billion and 28.9% of the market; SK Hynix is third with a revenue of $US 883 million and 14.1% market share; Micron's revenues arrived at approximately US$ 697 million; Intel is at fifth place with a revenue of US$ 475 million and 7.6% market share.


Thanks to the impressive shipment performances of its Mobile NAND, PC-based SSDs and enterprise-based SSDs, Samsung's NAND Flash revenues were able to grow by an estimated 10.5% QoQ. With the numbers of 3-Bit MLC product applications growing and the successful production of 19-nm class products contributing to a proportional increase in their output in Q3, both the server and cloud based enterprise SSDs will likely become the new focus for the Korean company. In Q3, Samsung's NAND Flash shipments have increased by 10-13% compared to Q2, whereas its ASP fell from the previous quarter given the rising proportion of its high density and 3-Bit MLC products. Following the steady 10.5% QoQ growth in its Q3 revenues (which reached US$ 2.41 billion) Samsung's market share rose slightly to 38.4%. Other than focusing on system products such as eMMC, eMCP, and SSD, Samsung is expected to continue accelerating its V-NAND development.    


Toshiba's Q3 NAND Flash revenue rose by 9.2% QoQ and reached US$ 1.812 billion. The growth is mostly due to the increase in the demands for system products from major strategic clients and the increasing proportion of system products sold. Due to the increased revenues, Toshiba has adjusted this year's memory product sales target from 590 billion yen to 800 billion yen. In addition to hastening the development of the 19nm manufacturing process, Toshiba will be looking to increase its enterprise SSD market share in Q4.

SK Hynix

According to its recent earnings report, SK Hynix's Q3 NAND Flash revenues grew by 5.1% QoQ and reached US$ 883 million, which gives it approximately 14.1% of the market and puts it in third place. The Korean company's Q3 ASP has slid by 6% from the previous quarter as the proportion of the large density system product sales increased from the second to third quarters. Following the Wuxi plant's fire accident, SK Hynix has begun to allocate portions of its NAND Flash capacity to DRAM, a decision which resulted in a lower than expected bit shipment growth (11%). For Q4, the Korean company's bit shipment is expected to shrink by an estimated 10-15% QoQ.  


Micron's Q3 NAND Flash revenue has grown by 2.8% QoQ, and reached US$ 697 million. The strong SSD shipments has enabled the company's bit shipment to jump by an estimated 13% compared to the previous quarter, while the heightened proportion of its 20nm class products led to a 10% reduction in its bit cost. Given that the extent to which Micron's ASP can drop is limited, the company is generally able to earn noticeably higher profit margins from its NAND Flash products. Micron is currently optimistic about its NAND Flash products' Q4 prospects, and is likely to show another double digit shipment growth in the upcoming periods.  


Benefiting from the increased demands for enterprise SSDs, Intel's NAND Flash revenue for Q3 reached US$ 475 million, which represents a 15% increase from Q2 and a 20% increase from the same period a year ago. Although its revenue growth is currently the highest on the Q3 revenue rankings list, Micron's Q3 ASP remains relatively unchanged from Q2. The enterprise SSD demand is expected to continue rising in the fourth quarter as cloud computing becomes more and more popular. As Intel's 20nm SSD product proportion is expected to exceed 50% in Q4, TrendForce projects that the company's NAND Flash revenue momentum will continue to rise.


The continuous stability of the NAND Flash system product prices and demand from new product launch, the combination credits to that branded NAND Flash revenue reached US$ 6.28 billion --representing 8.8% and 35% growth compared to 2Q13 and 3Q12, respectively-- is indication that focusing on system products and stabilizing NAND Flash prices helps contribute to steady revenue growth. The gradually rising cloud computing demands and applications, it is worth noting, are also likely to help the industry experience further growth.

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