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Press Releases
TrendForce: DRAM Industry Outlook Positive for 2014, Annual Sales Growth Likely to Exceed 10%

2013/12/05

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, 2013 has been a critical year for the DRAM industry Benefiting from the rising smartphone and tablet sales, the first tier DRAM manufacturers gradually shifted their attention to Mobile DRAM, a move which caused the eventual decline in PC DRAM production; In the periods following the fire accident at SK Hynix's Wuxi plant, 4GB module contract prices rose from US$17 to US$33, and gave DRAM manufacturers greater room for profit In the periods ahead, both the structural changes within the industry and the market's newly formed oligopoly are anticipated to pave the way for new opportunities TrendForce expects the DRAM industry to show the following five trends in 2014: 1、2014 DRAM Revenues to Rise by 12%, Show Growth for Second Consecutive Year since Financial Crisis Due to the transformation of the DRAM industry into an oligopoly, the exit of Taiwanese DRAM manufacturers, and the effects of SK Hynix's fire accident in 2H13, DRAM revenue is estimated to grow by 325% YoY to US$352 billion in 2013 Looking at 2014, as the difficulties associated with the 20nm migration process increases, the industry bit supply growth is expected to slow down ASP, meanwhile, is anticipated to decline on a gradual basis as manufacturing costs improve With DRAM manufacturers not actively seeking to migrate to new manufacturing technologies and the focal point of their strategies shifting to making product mixes more adjustable, TrendForce believes next year's DRAM market value will rise by 12% YoY to US$ 395 billion This is expected to be the year during which DRAM manufacturers show the most disciplined behavior on the production end since the financial turmoil in 2009 2、Industry to Become More Profitability Stable in 2014 following Micron's Official Acquisition of Elpida and Market’s Transformation into Oligopoly  After officially acquiring Elpida in August 2013, the scale of the new Micron group's revenue has reached close to that of SK Hynix Together, SK Hynix, Samsung and Micron account for roughly 90% market share of the DRAM industry, a sign that the market has officially become an oligopoly As each of the three major DRAM manufacturers in the industry possesses its own NAND Flash manufacturing technology and has flexible room for adjusting product mix, the DRAM market’s price movements are expected to remain stable, and the profitability trend is anticipated to continue into 2014  3、Mobile DRAM to Officially Become Mainstream as Proportion of PC DRAM Declines Due in part to the rising sales of smartphones and tablets, an increasing number of DRAM manufacturers have entered the Mobile DRAM market and are gradually decreasing the amount of PC DRAM produced In 2014, TrendForce projects Mobile DRAM will account for nearly 36% of the DRAM market in the output bases and become the new mainstream product, whereas PC DRAM’s market share is only expected to be 30% Looking at the specific Mobile DRAM product lines, the proportion of LPDDR3 is currently expected to grow at a more rapid pace in the smartphones and tablets adoption In addition to the said mobile devices, LPDDR3 is expected to also exert considerable impact on the Ultralike market thanks to its ability to save more power than traditional DDR3 and allow for longer hardware operating times Taking into account the overall momentum on the demand side, TrendForce believes the supplies of LPDDR3 will officially surpass that of LPDDR2 in 2H14 as it becomes a mainstream product within the industry 4、Use of 2Xnm Manufacturing Process to Rise in 2014, Design Difficulties to Affect Migration Progress In 2H13, DRAM manufacturers have encountered various difficulties while trying to migrate to 2Xnm technology Given the physical limitations, even companies such as Samsung and SK Hynix are having problems improving their production yield rate and volumes As the purchase of EUV equipments would be necessary for implementing the 25nm-and-under processes, the amount of financial resources spent will be noticeably greater than when the immersion scanners were used Due to the aforementioned limitations, mass production is unlikely to be achieved with the latest EUV developments, and the exact schedules for when DRAM manufacturers will transition to the below 25nm process remain uncertain TrendForce estimates that the DRAM manufacturers will still mainly use 2Xnm technology in 2014, but believes that the migration progress could be halted by design-related obstacles 5、DDR4 to be Introduced in 2H14 and Used in Server DRAM First As the dynamics on the demand side changes and the numbers of portable devices increase, the boundaries among memory components have become increasingly less clear compared to the previous months Mobile DRAM is now being used in the Notebook market, for instance, whereas low cost tablet manufacturers are beginning to contemplate using PC DRAM due to cost considerations For Server DRAM, an increasing amount of emphasis is placed on not just retaining stability, but also maintaining speed and low power consumption According to the specs released from JEDEC, the voltage of DDR4 will likely only be 12V, while its speed could reach up to as high as 3200 Mhz First tier DRAM manufacturers are expected to begin mass producing DDR4 in 2014, but will only apply the component to Server DRAM in the initial stages The product is expected to be introduced to the PC market in the later periods, and may replace DDR3 as the market mainstream in 2015     

Press Releases
TrendForce: Chinese Brands’Strong Promotion Lifts 2014 4K2K TV Penetration to 8%

2013/12/04

Display , Consumer Electronics

According to the global LCD TV brands’shipment and the downstream quarterly report by Witsview, the display research division of the global intelligence provider TrendForce, the Q3 global LCD TV shipment reached 506 million units, rising 99% QoQ and damping 51% YoY However, the global shipment for the entire year trims 17% for the first time to a volume 2031 million units with a penetration rate 1% for 4K2K LCD TV, seeing a shipment of 21 million units Based on WitsView, despite panel makers are eager to sell 4K2K LCD TVs, due to hardware, firmware, contents, panel production costs, and end selling prices, brands’promotion momentum of 4K2K LCD TVs is limited As Chinese brands are expected to lead to attack the market in 2014 along with panel makers adding production of panels of diverse sizes, and key components, such as Scaler IC, developing matured, international brands have no choices but to enter the arena The 2014 global 4K2K LCD TV brands’penetration rate will reach 81% with a shipment of 16-18 million units In view of regional brands, Chinese brands will account for 51% with a shipment 8-9 million units, Korean brands will hold a shipment of 35-4 million units, accounting for 214%, with their own panel makers’ support, and Japanese brands have a 161% market share with a shipment of 26-3 million units thanks to the support of hardware and software integration In view of global LCD TV shipments by brands, the Korean brands have a 58% YoY shipment growth for this year and a global market share rising to 351% Chinese top six brands’shipment ease with a 44% YoY growth and a market share slightly rising to 264%, and Japanese brands’ market share constantly dips to 181% In the first three quarters, Korean brands used 683% of Korean panels, 162% of Taiwanese panels, and 52% of Japanese panels Japanese brands had a declining proportion 451% of Korean panels, 314% of Taiwanese panels, a rising proportion 227% of Japanese panels Chinese brands had a proportion of Taiwanese panels dipping to 403%, a declining proportion of 272% of Korean panels, and a rising proportion 313% of Chinese panels WitsView believes that as the global economy rebounds slowly, brands and IC makers are anxious to find niche markets for 2014 Panels makers have been looking for profits on the improvements of ARRAY panel circuit, CELL glass slimness, and other processes including BLU modules (E-LED, D-LED), and they currently pin the hope on the resolution lifts for the new silk road of profitability Brands’deployment of 4K2K in 2014 is another bright spot after LED and 3D However, the 2014 market cannot avoid the panel oversupply impacts, even high-end 4K2K products cannot escape the price-cutting competition, and if it turns from a blue sea to a red sea need further observations As for other TV shipment data, WitView’s survey shows the LED LCD TV penetration rate in Q3 rose to 984% and that for the entire year comes to 954% The penetration for 3D LCD TV in Q3 declined to 205% and that for entire year comes to 221% Figure 1 2014 4K2K LCD TV Shipment Market Shares by Regional Brands  Source:WitsView Figure 2 2013 1Q-3Q Panel Purchase by Regional Brands Source:WitsView  

Press Releases
TrendForce: Shipment Delays Resulting from Yield Rate Issues Lead to Positive Turnaround for 2H’Nov DRAM Contract Prices

2013/12/02

Semiconductors

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the 2H13 DRAM prices were initially expected to weaken due to SK Hynix's gradual recovery from the fire accident and the sluggish demand in the market However, with one of the first tier PC DRAM makers experiencing various shipment delays and resorting to other DRAM manufacturers for orders, the 2H'Nov contract prices experienced a positive turnaround The highest price and average of 4GB mainstream modules have showed an estimated 3% increase and reached US$ 35 and US$ 33, respectively For the 2GB modules, the prices reached up to as high as US$ 185 given the massive reductions in its supply Calculating on the basis of the contract price figures, the 4Gb price is estimated at approximately US$ 406, which is close to the spot market's US$ 425 (11/28 closing price) Looking at December, it is not unlikely for contract prices to remain stable or show slight signs of growth if the yield rate issues and shipment delays continue Affected by the Wuxi Plant fire accident, various of the manufacturers' DRAM inventory levels have dropped on a gradual basis; the majority has approximately 3~4 weeks of inventory as of this moment, whereas the more shipment-heavy PC-OEMs' inventory levels are down to approximately 3 weeks The lowered inventories, all in all, can be said to be the main reason behind the increase in contract prices With the Wuxi plant expected to make its gradual recovery, later of 1Q14 is projected to be the period during which the DRAM prices will be adjusted and return to pre-accident levels Given that the manufacturing costs are likely to improve as manufacturers gradually migrate to 25nm technology, the three major DRAM suppliers in the industry should be able to maintain steady profits

Press Releases
TrendForce: LED Lighting and Smartphone Applications Demands Leads to Sapphire Substrate Manufacturers Production Expansions

2013/12/02

LED

Spurred by LED lighting and mobile device market demands, sapphire substrate manufacturers have been actively expanding their production capacity, according to TrendForce subsidiary LEDinside’s “Global Sapphire Substrate Market 2013” research report The top five sapphire ingot manufacturers for instance, have seen 2-inch equiv sapphire substrate monthly production capacity grow by 75% to 7800Kmm compared to 2012 LED industry development has been driven by LED lighting market’s high demands, especially for LED bulbs, LED tubes and MR16 To meet the above demands, major LED chip manufacturers still have expansion plans for 2013-2014, including Korean manufacturer Seoul Viosys, Taiwanese manufacturer Epistar, and Chinese manufacturers San’an Opto and HC Semitek Major chip manufacturers are also continually raising 4-inch wafer production capacity, which has led to 40% production share in 2013, and is expected to reach 43% in 2014 Handheld device applications have the strongest demands among non-LED application market demands Since Apple introduced sapphire substrate material into the iPhone5 and iPhone 5S camera lens, and into the 5S home buttons with the entry of fingerprint identification feature LG is also following this latest technology trend and introduced sapphire camera lens in its newest smartphone LG G2 This will hopefully drive other smartphone manufacturers to use this material LEDinside estimates the non-LED market application market share will reach 36% in 2014, with handheld device application demands even reaching 31% [Chart] Sapphire Substrate Demand Market Share 

Press Releases
TrendForce: NAND Flash Industry Structure to Transform as OCZ Declares Bankruptcy

2013/12/02

Semiconductors

Affected by intensified competition and increased financial pressures, the renowned US-based SSD company, OCZ Technology, declared bankruptcy on 11/27 and announced its plans to sell assets to the Japanese NAND Flash manufacturer, Toshiba The acquisition proposal has officially been approved by US courts, and for now, OCZ’s operations remain unchanged As the merger begins to take place, more and more changes are expected to emerge in the SSD industry According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, the unstable shipments and pricing fluctuations of NAND Flash products have made operational pressures increasingly more difficult to handle for independent SSD makers Looking at the area of product mix, most independent SSD manufacturers tend to place a high amount of emphasis on MLC-based products Samsung, by comparison, has recently begun to promote its TLC-based SSDs (based on its self-developed controller chips), and is managing to derive respectable profits from both the retail and PC OEM markets thanks to its products’ price advantage and price performance ratio The Korean company’s success can be said to have generated considerable pressure for manufacturers that are trying to seize the market through low pricing strategies Due in part to the eliminations resulting from the intensified competition in the past 10 years, the NAND Flash market is currently left with only four major manufacturers Observing the production side, Samsung accounts for nearly 37% of the entire NAND Flash industry’s output, whereas the proportion accounted for by Toshiba is approximately 36% Both Micron and Intel own a combined 16% of the markets’ output shares, and SK Hynix, which is in fourth place, has 11% Following the NAND Flash market’s shift of focus from UFDs and memory cards to OEM-SSD, eMMC, and eMCP products, the supplies of the retail market vendors have gradually begun to decline The pricing bargain has turned negative toward SSD manufacturer As NAND Flash chips are used in more than 80% of the SSDs, the shipment and pricing uncertainties within the market have increased the financial pressures for independent SSD manufacturers, and are raising the challenges associated with product planning and pricing In the coming periods, it appears likely that the SSD market will eventually be taken over by the industry’s more dominant brands In addition to the originally reputable brands and the companies that have established strong relationships with major NAND Flash manufacturers (for instance, Kingston, Crucial etc), the industry also seems to be dominated by NAND Flash manufacturers like Samsung that has directly jumped into the market to establish operations and to attract consumer attention through brand image and pricing As noted by TrendForce, the fact that major NAND Flash manufacturers are investing more and more resources in SSD development has made matters worse for independent SSD manufacturers With NAND Flash components gradually becoming a critical part of storage systems and the interest in cloud computing expanding, the enterprise-level NAND Flash makers have sought to strengthen the effectiveness of their SSD product lines through either self-development or relevant acquisitions In addition to ensuring sufficient supplies and stable price, one of the major determinants of a manufacturer’s competitiveness lies in its overall grasp of controller chip technology The fact that the effectiveness of the SSD controller chip determines the overall strength of the final SSD product has encouraged companies like LSI to acquire SandForce in 2011 and manufacturers such as SK Hynix to seek out LAMD (Link-A-Media-Device) This year, traditional hard drive vendors like Seagate and Western Digital have also made notable efforts to perform their own acquisitions (see Figure-2) The manufacturers with direct control over their own NAND Flash production –for example, Samsung, Toshiba, SanDisk, SK Hynix, Micron and Intel— are continuing to strengthen the integration between the upper and lower streams of their SSD supply chains HDD manufacturers such as Seagate, WD, and Hitachi, on the other hand, are venturing from the storage system markets into SSD territory as a means to seize further opportunities Starting next year, competition within the entire SSD industry will likely become a lot more intense   

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