Taipei, Monday, February 20, 2017 23:29 (GMT+8)
scattered showers
Taipei
23°C
Commentary: Diversifying a must for DRAM firms
Josephine Lien, Taipei; Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES [Thursday 5 April 2012]

Elpida Memory's bankruptcy filing reflects the fact that companies must diversify to cope with trends in the evolution of customer behavior and usage. The DRAM memory industry currently is encountering a shrinking market for traditional PCs, which have been are main DRAM consumer. The rising adoption of mobile computing devices such as tablets does provide an opportunity for DRAM makers, but such devices consume a lot fewer chips than desktops encouraging some chip suppliers to diversify their businesses.

Even for memory firms that offer both DRAM and NAND flash and have shifted their expansion focus to the latter product line, a substantial fall in DRAM demand and prices has prompted them to consider new directions to maintain their scale. SK Hynix (formerly Hynix Semiconductor), for instance, has revealed plans to diversify into the foundry business.

In fact, entering the foundry business is not new for DRAM makers, especially for second-tier players. History shows that during bad times, companies such as Powerchip Technology (formerly Powerchip Semiconductor, PSC) and ProMOS Technologies intended to increase their wafer starts for foundry production. But in the current circumstances, not only second-tier but also top-tier memory firms are seeing expanding their moves into the foundry business as a must.

SK Hynix, at the end of March, announced its goal to become a comprehensive semiconductor company, through providing foundry services for non-memory chips. The firm expects its mobile solutions business to account for 70% of revenues by 2016, from the current 40%.

Samsung Electronics has already taken a serious approach to expanding its logic foundry business. Having secured orders from Apple, Samsung is aggressively ramping production for application processors and is now considered a major rival to TSMC.

According to Gartner, TSMC still led the 2011 IC foundry market with a 48.8% share, compared to 47.1% in 2010. Samsung's foundry business, when including Apple's orders, generated about US$1.47 billion in 2011 and ranked as high as No. 4 in the ranking, Gartner said.

Powerchip's decision to shift to foundry has so far been successful. According to Gartner's data, its foundry revenues jumped almost 200% in 2011 to help the firm move up nine spots to No. 10 among IC foundries. Powerchip's sufficient 12-inch fab capacity has attracted orders for LCD driver ICs, CMOS sensors and power management chips.

Falling PC demand encouraging DRAM makers to diversify

Falling PC demand encouraging DRAM makers to diversify
Photo: Digitimes file photo

Realtime news
  • Smartphones to remain largest AP application through 2020, says Digitimes Research

    Bits + chips | 57min ago

  • Foxconn chairman pledges shares for loans

    IT + CE - Newswatch | 1h 54min ago

  • Taiwan attracts foreign direct investment of nearly US$367 million in January, says MOEA

    Bits + chips | 1h 55min ago

  • Taiwan January export order value down on month, up on year, says MOEA

    Bits + chips | 1h 57min ago

  • Taiwan attracts foreign direct investment of nearly US$367 million in January, says MOEA

    Before Going to Press | 2h 14min ago

  • Samsung Electronics accounts for 22.7% of Vietnam's export value in 2016

    Before Going to Press | 2h 14min ago

  • Taiwan January export order value down on month, up on year, says MOEA

    Before Going to Press | 2h 15min ago

  • Taiwan consumer IC specialists revenues to pick up in March

    Before Going to Press | 2h 15min ago

  • Lextar Electronics buys back 2.05% stake

    Before Going to Press | 2h 15min ago

  • Silicon wafer prices to rise from low point in 2016, says SAS

    Before Going to Press | 2h 17min ago

  • White-box smartphone vendors under increasing competitive pressure from China-based vendors

    Before Going to Press | 2h 18min ago

  • Japan lowers PV feed-in tariff rates for fiscal year 2017

    Before Going to Press | 2h 18min ago

  • Acer has not bought back own shares

    Before Going to Press | 2h 19min ago

  • Taiwan should promote smart cities initially in 7 cites, says Acer founder

    Before Going to Press | 2h 20min ago

  • Global IT demand estimated at US$2.4 trillion in 2017, says IDC

    Before Going to Press | 2h 21min ago

  • Taiwan solar cell makers hike prices

    Before Going to Press | 2h 22min ago

  • Chimei Materials Technology suffers net loss per share of NT$2.88 for 2016

    Before Going to Press | 2h 23min ago

  • China- and Taiwan-based chipmakers gearing up for next-gen memory technologies

    Before Going to Press | 2h 24min ago

  • TPK Holding to quit production of touch panels used in Apple Watch, say Taiwan makers

    Before Going to Press | 2h 25min ago

Pause
 | 
View more
Advantest
Trends and forecasts for the China FPD industry, 2014-2017
Analysis of China revised domestic semiconductor industry goals
  • Wireless broadband developments in Southeast Asia markets

    As of 2013, the 10 ASEAN nations had a total of over 700 million mobile subscriptions, with the CAGR from 2003-2013 reaching 24%. This Digitimes Research Special Report analyzes the various mobile broadband markets in ASEAN and looks at the respective trends in 4G LTE development for those markets.

  • 2015 global tablet demand forecast

    This Digitimes Research Special Report provides a 2015 forecast for the global tablet market and analyzes the strategies of key market players such as Google, Apple, Intel, and Microsoft.

  • 2015 China smartphone panel trend forecast

    This Digitimes Research Special Report analyzes the strategies of key China-based major panel makers BOE, Tianma and IVO for attacking the different market segments through technology and pricing, and their relationship to local vendors Huawei, Lenovo, ZTE, Xiaomi and Coolpad.