Wed, Sep 05, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Toshiba aims to overtake Samsung in semiconductors

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Toshiba Corp, the world's second-largest maker of NAND flash-memory chips, aims to overtake Samsung Electronics Co as the biggest producer of the semiconductors next year, president Atsutoshi Nishida said.

Sales of the chips, which store songs and pictures in digital cameras, mobile phones and music players, will expand as higher communication speeds allow devices to save more data, Nishida said. He spoke at an opening ceremony for a flash-memory line at the company's factory in Yokkaichi, central Japan.

"The goal is a positive," said Takeo Miyamoto, who has a "buy" rating on Toshiba's stock as an analyst at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Tokyo. "Toshiba is not the kind of company to pay lip service."

Toshiba and partner SanDisk Corp are increasing output to meet demand. Tokyo-based Toshiba, Japan's biggest chipmaker, said in July it expects to meet 75 percent of orders for NAND this quarter, down from 80 percent three months earlier.

The Japanese chipmaker had a 28 percent share of the global NAND flash market in the three months ended June 30, trailing Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung's 46 percent, according to researcher ISuppli Corp. Hynix Semiconductor Inc was in third place with 15 percent.

Toshiba in June said it is speeding up plans to increase production of the chips by about six months to meet demand from mobile-phone makers. The company will process 60,000 wafers a month, compared with its original target of 35,000, at its fourth plant in Yokkaichi by the end of June next year. That compares with a previous schedule for the quarter ending December next year.

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