Taipei, Thursday, June 29, 2017 00:03 (GMT+8)
thunderstorms
Taipei
34°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
  • CMOS image sensor sales to reach another record high in 2017, says IC Insights

    Bits + chips | 1h 41min ago

  • Imec looking to deepen partnerships with China-based chipmakers

    Bits + chips | 1h 46min ago

  • Qualcomm announces advanced fingerprint scanning and authentication technology

    Bits + chips | 1h 50min ago

  • Powerchip opens JV fab in China

    Bits + chips | 1h 52min ago

  • Powerchip eyeing orders from Illumina

    Before Going to Press | 2h 34min ago

  • MWC Asia 2017: Lenovo showcases next-generation Moto Z2 smartphone

    Before Going to Press | 2h 51min ago

  • Laster Tech expects LED automotive lighting module shipments to jump 100%

    Before Going to Press | 2h 54min ago

  • Qualcomm expanding mobile chip offering for entry-level and mid-range smartphones

    Before Going to Press | 3h 3min ago

  • MWC Asia 2017 opens, highlighting 5G technology

    Before Going to Press | 3h 21min ago

  • TSEC calls off plan to set up JV module plant

    Before Going to Press | 3h 39min ago

  • Taiwan market: Microsoft launches Surface Pro

    Before Going to Press | 3h 56min ago

  • China likely to become largest 5G market by 2025, says GSMA executive

    Before Going to Press | 4h 7min ago

  • ReneSolar to delist from NYSE

    Before Going to Press | 4h 34min ago

Pause
 | 
View more
UMC
Wireless broadband developments in Southeast Asia markets
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.