Samsung lengthens lead as DRAM market surges in Q2

Samsung lengthens lead as DRAM market surges in Q2.

Samsung expanded its lead in the second quarter as overall DRAM revenue surged 14.4 percent compared to the first quarter, according to iSuppli.

SAN FRANCISCO — Top-ranked DRAM vendor Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. expanded its lead in the second quarter as overall DRAM revenue surged 14.4 percent compared to the first quarter, reaching $10.8 billion, according to market research firm iSuppli.

Second quarter DRAM growth was driven by a nearly 5 percent increase in bit shipments and 9 percent growth in average selling prices (ASPs), according to iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.).

Second quarter DRAM was the highest the industry has seen since 1995 and bit shipments, at 3.56 billion 1Gbit-equivalent units, reached the highest level ever, iSuppli said. The $3.03 ASP for all DRAM parts was the highest it has been since the third quarter of 2008, according to the firm.

The expansion across multiple fronts is setting the stage for 2010 to possibly generate the highest annual growth in the history of the DRAM industry, iSuppli said.

Samsung (Seoul, South Korea) increased its DRAM market share to 35.4 percent in the second quarter from 32.6 percent in the first quarter, iSuppli said. Samsung’s DRAM revenue increased by 24.3 percent sequentially to reach $3.8 billion, the highest growth rate among the top five suppliers, iSuppli said.

ISuppli (El Segundo, Calif.) credited aggressive investment in advanced manufacturing technology for Samsung’s growth.

“The company’s aggressive push into 40-nm semiconductor lithography for DRAM manufacturing boosted the volume of its bit production dramatically,” said said Howard, senior analyst for DRAM technology at iSuppli, in a statement. Howard said Samsung’s broad DRAM portfolio enabled the company to achieve a better-than-average overall ASP, $3.13 per part.

Samsung in the second quarter produced 1.2 billion 1Gbit-density-equivalent DRAM units, up 13 percent from 1.1 billion in the first quarter, iSuppli said.

Japan’s Elpida Memory Inc. posted a 17.7 percent increase in DRAM revenue, reaching $1.9 billion in the second quarter, iSuppli said. The firm achieved the second strongest growth among the top five DRAM suppliers due to its higher-than-average shipment growth of 8 percent as well as an improved product mix, iSuppli said.

Micron Technology Inc.’s DRAM revenue grew to $1.43 billion in the second quarter, up 4.1 percent from the first quarter, the lowest rate among the top five suppliers, according to iSuppli. Micron’s market share slipped slightly to 13.3 percent, though the firm enjoyed the highest ASPs in the industry by a sizable margin, according to iSuppli.

Howard said Micron’s comparatively low growth rate was likely due to manufacturing challenges at its Inotera joint venture with Nanya Technology Corp.

“Inotera has had the daunting task over the past few quarters of not only transitioning to the 50-nm process node but also of migrating from Qimonda’s trench technology to Micron’s stack technology,” Howard said. “Once it is past this challenge—which appears to be the case—Inotera should be able to achieve outstanding bit growth for the duration of 2010.”

ISuppli is offering for sale through its website Howard’s latest report on the second quarter DRAM market.

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