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Press Releases
TrendForce Adjusts Notebooks’ Unit Memory Capacity for 2015 Down by 3~5% due to Microsoft’s New License Fee Arrangement for Windows 10



Microsoft will launch Windows 10 globally on July 29 The latest version, which combines the strengths of its predecessors, is free to upgrade for users of genuine Windows 7 and 8 According to DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, the PC replacement demand generated by Windows 10 will be noticeably weaker than the vendors’ initial expectations Besides being free for users of earlier Windows, the latest Windows does not require specific hardware upgrades With the average lifespan of PCs continuing to increase, three- to five-year-old PCs will be able to run on Windows 10 smoothly DRAMeXchange estimates that the 2015 notebook shipments will reach 168M units, a decline of 5% compared with 2014 This shipment projection is mainly based on the downward revisions of the global economic outlook, but Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade scheme also has a certain amount of impact on the overall PC shipments  Moreover, Microsoft for the first time calculates its OS license fee based on a device’s display size, memory capacity and HDD/SDD storage capacity The formula also factors in device type and will be different for tablets, notebooks and desktops DRAMeXchange reports the current price difference between notebooks carrying 2GB memory modules and the mainstream 4GB memory modules is close to US$20 Since margins for notebook products are generally low, some vendors are studying ways to avoid higher Windows license fees One way is to equip low-priced notebooks with 2GB memory Another option for vendors is to negotiate with retailers about the possibility of upgrading memory at the retail end  Microsoft’s new license fee formula and the demands from the computer vendors have forced DRAM manufacturers to make plans to restart production of 2GB modules, which were originally destined to be phased out Presently, both Samsung and SK Hynix are able to provide 2GB memory solutions to their clients Micron’s 2GB products are also at verification stage and will be available on the market later Microsoft’s new license fee arrangement for Windows 10 is expected to have a certain effect on the DRAM industry DRAMeXchange therefore has made a downward revision on the notebooks’ average unit memory capacity for this year from 46GB to 44GB, which is a 3~5% drop With contract price continuing to fall, this anticipated reduction in notebooks’ unit memory capacity will undoubtedly add pressure on the DRAM industry 

Press Releases
Peak Season for LCD TV Panel Shipments May Not Materialize in Q3 Due to Excessive Shipments in First Half of 2015, Says TrendForce



The latest report from WitsView, a division of TrendForce, finds shipments of LCD TV panels in June fell 05% monthly but increased 79% yearly, totaling 226M units The shipments in the previous six months reached 1323M units and fulfilled 525% of this year’s total LCD TV panel demand, which is estimated at 252M units Historically, this is the first time that over 50% of a year’s total shipments has been achieved within the first six months of that year This shipment result not only has set a record but will also create inventory issues that will affect the purchasing strategies of branded TV vendors in the second half of 2015  WitsView’s analysis further reveals that TV vendors had been aggressively stocking up panels since this year’s first quarter because of the shortages in the previous year, and this resulted in an unusually strong market during the off-peak season Moreover, TV shipments in the first quarter dropped just slightly by 08% due to the strong efforts from vendors to reach their yearly shipment targets Even though the base period is set higher for the second quarter, the quarterly TV shipments still posted a growth of 33%  Nonetheless, inventory pressures mounted for TV vendors during this year’s first half because the depreciation of the euro and the emerging markets’ currencies made the end market weaker than anticipated By the end of the second quarter, TV vendors had an additional two to three weeks’ worth of panel stock compared with the first quarter They therefore are gradually revising their shipment targets Moreover, the accumulation of purchased panels in the first half of this year as well as uncertain market demands are going to affect vendors’ willingness to stock up Based on WitsView’s projection, there might be a 07% quarterly decline in panel shipments in the third quarter, and this is quite unusual during the traditional peak season  WitsView’s third quarter forecast for LCD TV panel shipments finds that even as the market is preparing for the Black Friday sales as before, it will be relatively less thriving than it was in the same period of past years This situation indicates the retailers are steadily becoming more uncertain about the end market demand In the coming months, a series of shopper holidays will take place in China, including the Mid-Autumn Festival, National Day, Singles’ Day and Double 12 These retail events will be able to support TV panel demands to a certain level before the traditional peak season However, the excess shipments during the first half of 2015 has led to a slow but ongoing increase in TV vendors’ inventories Vendors will negotiate to lower panel prices in order maintain their margins In sum, the panel market in this third quarter will not be as strong as in the previous third quarters because factors such as the general economic environment and fluctuating currency exchange rates will affect end market demand WitsView also foresees serious challenges to market confidence in the fourth quarter  For the latest report on LCD TV panel shipments, please see WitsView’s Monthly LCD TV Panel Supply Chain Tracker The report offers complete and up-to-date analysis on the display panel market 

Press Releases
TrendForce Says Tsinghua Unigroup’s Bid on Micron Shows China Extending Its Efforts in Domestic Semiconductor Sector



On October 14, 2014, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced the establishment of the National Integrated Circuitry Industry Investment Fund This fund shows China’s intention of building a domestic semiconductor sector with the DRAM industry as the cornerstone There has been incessant merger activities since then, and China is showing its strong determination to carry out its mission, whether its efforts are publicly known as in SummitView Capital’s acquisition of ISSI or hidden as in the recruitment of industry talents  The latest in this series of dealings is Tsinghua Unigroup’s bid to acquire Micron on July 14 with an offer totaling US$23 billion If this deal were carried out, it would be the largest Chinese takeover of a US company on record  Investigation by DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, confirms that Tsinghua Unigroup did submit a bid, but this was just the initial stage of a long and difficult negotiation The proposal to sell the company will have to be first passed by Micron’s board of directors and then agreed by the shareholders According to US government’s policy on the export of high-tech products, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) will also review the deal and decide if it affects the US national security Since the semiconductor sector is deemed vital to US national security, CFIUS has the power to stop the transaction  Intel presents another interesting factor in the Micron acquisition In addition to DRAM products, Micron also develops NAND flash technology with Intel Therefore, Tsinghua Unigroup will have to negotiate with both Micron and Intel when it comes to the transfer of NAND flash technology Another reason why Intel is crucial to this deal is that it already made a strategic alliance with Tsinghua Unigroup Intel purchased a 20% stake in Tsinghua Unigroup for US$15 billion in September 2014, so there is a chance that Tsinghua will be able to obtain both DRAM and NAND flash technologies at once if the Micron acquisition goes through Such scenario will motivate the US government to scrutinize this deal very closely  In terms of financing, Tsinghua Unigroup’s current market cap is about 47 billion yuan RMB, or US$76 billion Buying Micron at US$23 billion will require financial support from other investment funds or consortiums as Tsinghua Unigroup evidently lacks the capital to do the takeover by itself However, China is presumably set on growing its semiconductor sector, so the Chinese government will employ all the necessary national resources to bring about successful industry mergers State-backed funds for instance might even come to Tsinghua Unigroup’s assistance Excluding the concerns of the US government, the Micron acquisition is financially feasible 

Press Releases
TrendForce Lowers LCD Monitor and Notebook Shipment Forecasts for Q2 and Q3 Due to Depreciation of Currencies


Display , Consumer Electronics

WitsView, a division of TrendForce, has made downward revisions to shipment forecasts of monitors and notebooks for this year’s second and third quarters according to its latest research The revision is based on the depreciation of the euro and the emerging markets’ currencies as well as other factors  According to WitsView’s Research Manager Anita Wang, the sharp depreciation of the euro has depressed the market demand for LCD monitors during the entire second quarter The channel retailers are unwilling to stock up because they are not clearing their inventories quickly enough Under this cycle of inventory accumulation and dropping demand, the projected monitor shipments for the second quarter will not grow but rather shrink by 1~2% quarterly, reaching 301M units shipped The main goals of branded monitor vendors in the second quarter were to adjust their product mixes and help channel retailers get rid of excess inventories Vendors are hoping demands will pick up in this year’s second half, when the overall inventory level in the channels is returning to normal By that time retailers will stock up more product models carrying low-cost panels in preparation of annual sales events, which are important to vendors’ shipment targets  “The base period for the second quarter shipments is relatively short,” Wang added “This will spur monitor vendors to work harder to reach their annual shipment targets and spur stock-up demands in the channels” The third quarter shipments are therefore likely to see a growth of 5~7% with 319M units shipped This estimated shipment figure, however, also represents a 48% year-on-year decline  Notebook market struggles as peak season sales did not reach expectations  WitsView has also revised the estimated shipments of notebooks for the second quarter downward from a quarterly growth of 8~9% to 2~4%, arriving at 395M units shipped Traditionally, this is the period when branded notebook vendors launch their new models and retailers stock up for the back-to-school sales However, the notebook market like the monitor market is badly affected by the depreciation of the euro and the emerging markets’ currencies Hence, the notebook sales have fallen short of expectations Vendors moreover have stocked up too many panels as they have maintained the same procurement volumes respectively On the whole, the gradual recovery of the North American market is unlikely to offset the losses in Europe  The notebook market appears to be uncharacteristically conservative as it enters the third quarter, which is the peak season for IT products Even though Windows 10 is set to launch at the end of July, the news has not lifted the notebook market demand because the current Windows 7 and above users can get a free upgrade In order to make the annual shipment quotas, notebook vendors are relying on the next-generation, Windows 10 notebooks that also carry the new Intel Skylake processors They are also aggressively promoting the older models to prop up sales figures With the notebook shipments performing below expectation in the second quarter, WitsView estimates the quarterly growth in the third quarter will reach 7~9%, down from the original projection of 12~13% There is also an adjustment in the projected year-on-year decline for the period, from the original 02% to the revised 64% As for the expected notebook shipment volume, about 429M units will be shipped in third quarter 

Press Releases
TrendForce Reports Global DRAM Module Industry in 2014 Saw 21% Revenue Growth at US$8.8 Bln with Kingston in Lead



The latest DRAM module maker ranking by DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, reports that the gross sales of the global DRAM module market for 2014 was US$88 billion This amount represented a 21% increase over the 2013 gross sales of US$73 billion This dramatic growth was attributed to the stabilization of prices for PC DRAM and the rise of contract transactions relative to spot trades The top five module manufacturers remained dominant, accounting for 81% of the 2014 gross sales Moreover, the top ten companies made up 92% of the market revenue for that year Kingston firmly established itself as the industry leader with an annual revenue growth of 44% Ramaxel and ADATA took the second and third place with impressive performances as well  DRAMeXchange’s research shows 2014 was a very profitable year for the DRAM industry as the market consolidated into an oligopoly that brought the supply-demand situation under control With the right product mix strategies, manufacturers also benefitted from the brisk sales of smartphones and the steadily growing server market As a result, DRAM prices was steady throughout the entire 2014, with the average contract price of DDR3 4Gb staying at US$365 This was an 18% increase over the 2013’s contract price of US$31 The spot market for 2014 had also been strong with the average price hanging around US$4 This was a 17% jump compared with the spot price of US$343 during 2013 The price difference between the contract and spot market was roughly 10% in 2014, so the module companies enjoyed a significant increase over 2013 in their annual revenue The leading companies also became stronger than ever  Kingston sat at top of industry during 2014 and is expected to focus on contract trades this year  Kingston held on to the title of No 1 DRAM module maker due to the rising proportion of contract trades and the price stability in the spot market Kingston Solution Inc (KSI), which is responsible Kingston’s eMCP products, reaped much rewards for its efforts in China and has inserted itself into the supply chains of local smartphone vendors Overall, KSI is on its way to become a top-tier eMCP manufacturer Ramaxel followed Kingston at No 2 and posted a 13% annual revenue growth owing to its businesses with Lenovo and the increase of server DRAM in its product mix ADATA, which was No 3 in the 2014 ranking, had adjusted its strategy and reduced the share of DRAM in its product mix It nonetheless remained the leader among Taiwanese module companies Micron Consumer Products Group stayed at the the fourth place and saw a 619% annual revenue growth Transcend, which gained from the continuing market growth of industrial memory products, came in at No 5  DRAMeXchange moreover finds that with the DRAM spot market shrinking this year, module manufacturers must look to new markets to sustain their revenue growth Kingston offers the best case scenario as it has effectively made inroads into the contract market While smaller manufacturers may have difficulty emulate Kingston’s success, there are alternatives to the contract market The industrial and gaming applications, for examples, are important markets that demand high-margin products Capitalizing on these opportunities and increasing the proportions of flash and other strategic products in the product mix are some of the ways manufacturers can survive in the changing business market environment 

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