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Press Releases
TrendForce: DRAM Industry Profits to Stabilize as Korean Manufacturers Slow Capacity Expansion in 2015



Construction of Samsung and SK Hynix's new fabrication plants will be finished in 2015, and next year's plans for manufacturing capacity are currently being changed, according to DRAMeXchange, a division of Taiwan-based market intelligence firm TrendForce The significant increase in capacity at Samsung's Line17 fab initially scheduled for the second quarter of 2015 was delayed Production will begin at 10K wafer starts per month in 2Q15 and increase gradually, reaching 40K wafer starts per month by the end of the year The incremental capacity increases will help stabilize profit structure and allow for immediate product mix adjustments However, the ratio of 20nm production is on the rise and the next-gen process is more complex than older technology As Samsung's older plants do not have room for new manufacturing equipment, capacity may decrease Thus, despite the extra capacity from Line17, reduced capacity at current fabs means Samsung's total capacity in 2015 will likely remain roughly the same as this year's, with yearly growth dependent on technology migration  SK Hynix's new M14 fab will also be completed in 2015, and equipment is expected to be moved in around the middle of the year The memory maker is in the same boat as its top competitor Indeed, as manufacturing difficulties increase with migration from the 25nm to the 21nm process, capacity will decrease at older plants, leading to no significant yearly capacity growth despite the addition of a new fab The 25nm process will remain SK Hynix's mainstream technology next year Advancement to the 21nm process will begin in mid-2015 at the earliest, and yearly growth will come from technology migration, not capacity expansion  Micron, with its strict cost control and profit-based strategy, does not have capacity expansion plans for 2015 Migration to the 20nm process next year will take place mainly at Inotera (commodity DRAM) and the Hiroshima fab (mobile DRAM), with no 20nm production at Micron Memory Taiwan With a risk-averse operational strategy, Micron is expected to experience the weakest growth among DRAM manufacturers next year As DRAM manufacturers are cautiously boosting manufacturing capacity, the industry should be able to avoid massive price fluctuations and see stable profit in 2015

Press Releases
Global smartphone shipments to reach 322 million in 3Q14; iPhone to drive 4G penetration rate in China


Consumer Electronics

Smartphone shipments are expected to reach 322 million in the third quarter of 2014, up 13% on quarter, and see flat shipment growth on year in the fourth quarter, while overall shipments in 2014 will reach 12 billion, up 292% on year, according to market intelligence firm TrendForce Growth will be driven primarily by the release of the new iPhone and new units launched from Chinese vendors  A larger iPhone screen will bring a new wave of demand in China  The new iPhone is reserved to be published in 9th of September According to a recent survey conducted by TrendForce subsidiary Avanti, 67% of respondents who were asked about iPhone responded they were looking forward to the device coming equipped with a larger screen primarily for larger viewing and more qualitative reading experiences, while 38% responded they had a strong interest in purchasing the new device Approximately 21% of Chinese consumers were reported as currently waiting for the new iPhone to hit the market Avanti believes that in a 370 million handset market throughout 2013, the new iPhone will have a great potential to see major sales in the China market provided it has a larger screen  TrendForce smartphone analyst, Avril Wu, said there will be increased demand for the new iPhone in the market but shipments will largely depend on whether key supply chain makers maintain stable yields in production and assembly while avoiding bottlenecks TrendForce predicts a total shipments of 75 million or less for the new 47” and 55” iPhone, with only 20% occupied by 55” due to its higher difficulty of production  Samsung, LG to launch new units combatting iPhone; Chinese vendors maintain strong shipments  Samsung Electronics is coming full throttle into the market with the release of its new Galaxy Note 4 but will face challenges due to iPhone’s larger screen TrendForce believes the iPhone will influence Samsung’s market share from 33% at the beginning of 2014, to 28% in the third quarter, which also means Samsung will likely not able to reach its goal of 350 million in handset shipments during 2014  LG Electronics meanwhile saw better-than-expected shipments during the first half of 2014, particularly in the South Korea market The company will release its G3 Stylus in September, which is expected to help push its market share up to 62% in the third quarter HTC on the other hand will see major declines, with shipments reaching less than 20 million in 2014-even less than half of China-based Xiaomi  China vendors including Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, Coolpad and ZTE on the other hand are all growing rapidly and are expected to see over 30 million in shipments during 2014 Lenovo in conjunction with its merged company Motorola will see shipments reach 90 million to become China’s largest vendor while Huawei will see shipments over 65 million to hold the number 2 spot Xiaomi and Coolpad meanwhile will see nearly 60 million smartphones shipped  Due to the substantial expenditure to expand 4G TF-LTE, carriers have less ability on carrying contracted 4G handsets subsidy, and further to cause the shipments of 4G units to slow down within China area, added by Wu The China market is very optimistic about the release of the new iPhone equipped with 4G, which means that 4G services will be pushed further into the market through the release and vendors will follow by launching more 4G units once the technology has matured in China The penetration rate of 4G in China is foreseen to rise positively from 246% to 67%        Source: TrendForce 

Press Releases
Production Issues Restrict Apple’s Sapphire Cover the Newest iPhone Release, Analyzes TrendForce


LED / Consumer Electronics

Despite Apple’s plans of launching the iPhone 6 in late 2014, optical demands in handheld devices failed to generate price upticks in the sapphire substrate industry, according to LEDinside, a research subdivision of market-research organization TrendForce  Sapphire ingot, substrate and patterned sapphire substrate (PSS) prices have all dropped in July 2014, with some product prices down 5%-10% Quarter-on-Quarter (QoQ) The research organization noted optical demands lagged behind sapphire  manufacturers’ production expansion, and order volumes have fallen short of expectations In the sapphire ingot industry, 2-inch ingot prices were declined to US $35-$40, while 2-inch sapphire substrate prices were maintained at US $68-$72 Four-inch sapphire ingot prices also dropped to US $15-$16, while 4-inch sapphire substrate prices were about US $29-US $31 LEDinside, however, upheld a positive outlook for the sapphire industry performance in second half of 2014, pointing out a new wave of sapphire substrate orders could emerge if the iPhone 6 sales performance were good  The sapphire material is still being applied in new generation Apple smartphones camera lenses and fingerprint recognition readers If the iPhone 6 keeps up Apple’s previous smartphone models hot selling records, sapphire demands will be driven by the smartphone’s applications till the end of this year However, the much anticipated sapphire cover glass remains missing from the picture Analysis of the iPhone 6 supply chain indicates related component suppliers need to ship products to OEMs for assembly in June 2014 to meet the September launch date Yet, the research institute did not discover demands for smartphone cover glass The sapphire glass version iPhone 6 will be issued in limited volumes this year, mostly because sapphire ingot manufacturers yield rates were lower than forecasts and issues involved in sapphire glass processing  Meanwhile, further observations will be required to determine whether Apple’s final iWatch will incorporate sapphire glass cover, said a LEDinside analyst, who declined to be identified Since sapphire glass processing is relatively difficult, it would be problematic to mass produce sapphire watch cover glass if the iWatch is 25 D Additionally, sapphire glass processing will become even more strenuous if the wearable device uses flexible OLED panels 

Press Releases
China smartphone brand awareness increasing in China; Apple still holds top spot


Display / Consumer Electronics

The global smartphone market is slowing down and entering a mature period where growth will be limited Mature markets such as Europe and North America in particular are expected to see smartphone growth in the single digits Amid an increasingly competitive smartphone market in China, growth is expected to be more noticeable, and vendors such as Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo have gained a strong market share in the lower-priced smartphone segment  iPhone and Samsung hold the first position in brand awareness, whilst growth of Chinese brands is not negligible  According to a new report from Avanti, the Shanghai-located consumer behaviour research division of Taiwan-based TrendForce, statistics show that when asked about smartphones without mentioning a specific brand, roughly half of local consumers in China show the most interest for Apple (50%) and Samsung Electronics products (25%)  Products from China vendors however are making an increasingly extended impression with Chinese consumers While there was growing demand for iPhone and Samsung products from 2012 throughout the second quarter of 2014, there was also increased demand for Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo products Xiaomi saw the biggest increase, with a Top of Mind rate rising from 3% to 27% over 10 quarters for a 24pp increase Huawei’s meanwhile jumped from 3% to 23% and Lenovo 8% to 18% While such percentages are still not comparable to the rates consumers have for Apple and Samsung products, they do show clear signs of stemming quickly  Meanwhile, Nokia and HTC’s Top of Mind rates are decreasing, the Avanti statistics pointed out Nokia dropped from the number one spot at 12% in first-quarter 2012 to 16% in second-quarter 2014, and HTC 23% to 16% over the same period, making them the two main vendors whose Top of Mind rates in China are dropping the most significantly  Figure 1 Top of Mind by Smartphone Vendor    Source: TrendForce  Chinese consumers more willing to purchase local products; Xiaomi holds number 3 spot  There have been obvious changes from the first quarter in 2012 to the second quarter of 2014 in terms of what kinds of smartphones Chinese consumers want to purchase iPhone used to have a 37% rate, which dropped as of the third quarter of 2013 Avanti believes this is because consumers felt the smartphone had lacking new innovation, and a smaller-than-desired screen (4-inches) However, due to the release of iPhone 5c and 5s Apple’s percentage increased to 22% in the second quarter, regaining the top spot  Samsung’s percentage came in second at 21%, which Avanti said it attributes to Samsung’s advertising in addition to the release of the Galaxy S5 Xiaomi meanwhile came in third due to increase in advertising and low-priced units while Huawei and Lenovo also saw increases and Nokia/HTC clear decreases  Consumers have become focused on product affordability  In terms of pricing advantages, consumers in China feel that Xiaomi and Huawei to be the top two Though iPhone and Samsung products are considered to have the most reliability and brand visibility, consumers are having similar opinions regarding to user-friendliness toward both brands with Xiaomi and Huawei, with some consumers believing that Xiaomi has surpassed the two international giants due to the vendor’s smartphone special features  Avanti also said that as growth in the overall smartphone market is cooling down, vendors are using low-priced units to gain market share while high-end units are no longer solely dominating Vendors therefore expected to further develop low-priced and mid-range units, added Avanti  Figure 2 Changes in the brands consumers want to purchase for their next smartphone    Source: TrendForce 

Press Releases
Memory Storage Industry to See Growth amid Increased Smartphone demand



The memory storage industry is expected to see overall growth in the second half of this year driven primarily by smartphone demand As this occurs, commodity DRAM capacity will be tight, which is expected to remain unchanged in the short term This will bring increased demand for server as well as mobile DRAM during the second half of the year, and DRAM vendors as a result are likely to report record-high profits In terms of the NAND Flash market, the market is expected to turn from oversupply in the first half of the year into balanced supply during the second half, as OEM and module customer demand strengthens All of these factors will push up pricing in the industry during the second half as a result, according to DRAMeXchange, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based market intelligence firm TrendForce  Smartphone shipments cause DRAM supply to be tight; prices expected to rise  Smartphone shipments in 2014 are expected to grow 29% on year to 1196 billion due to increased demand in China as a result of 4G TD-LTE developments; the release of the new iPhone; recovery in economies across the globe, and increased demand for entry-level and mid-range smartphones Within that number, Chinese vendors’ shipments are expected to make up 373% The Chinese vendors will mostly use eMCP technology in their smartphones while the new iPhone will use LPDDR3 1GB technology This will lead to a slight increase in mobile DRAM prices during the third quarter and will quicken the exchange of LPDDR2 technology to LPDDR3, according to DRAMeXchange Assistant Vice President Avril Wu  PC DRAM supply meanwhile is expected to remain tight into the third quarter, which can already be seen from supply imbalances with Intel chips, and is expected to see a 26% increase in shipments during 2015 The tight supply comes as notebook shipments are recovering better than expected, particularly following the suspension of Windows XP services, coupled with new notebook sales as a result of subsidies that have prompted positive results within the corporate PC replacement cycle  Wu also noted that end PC DRAM supply has been tight due to increased demand for Big Data, and because commodity DRAM and mobile DRAM have been in tight supply This has led to a slight increase in pricing for PC DRAM as well as an increase in the proportion of NAND Flash SSD used  Smartphones will help balance supply for NAND Flash  Going into the second half of 2014 smartphones will play a major role in the NAND Flash market According to DRAMeXchange Assistant Vice President Sean Yang, most new smartphones from major smartphone vendors will be released after mid-3Q14 OEM manufacturers meanwhile have been gathering reserves since June and NAND flash capacity is being shifted to system products, which is putting a strain on channel customer supply This has led to an increase in NAND Flash pricing as a result  Enterprise SSD demand will also increase in the second half as a result of increased demand for server and cloud computing storage increases coupled with the peaking mobile device segment Some vendors may also not be able to meet demand, which will tighten up supply for NAND Flash Additionally, Yang said that NAND Flash manufacturers have also been shifting capacity to high profit products, which should help increase performances in the second half of the year

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