Fri, Dec 09, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Micron seeking suppliers of SSD chips in Taiwan

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff Reporter

US memorychip maker Micron Technology Inc is seeking Taiwanese partners to supply solid-state drive (SSD) controller chips to cope with the company’s expansion in NAND memorychips next year, an executive said yesterday.

Currently, Micron is collaborating with Marvell Technology Group Ltd of the US for supply of controller chips. Micron expects to have some Taiwanese suppliers next year as it is broadening its product portfolio of NAND flash memory chips, Kevin Kilbuck, director of marketing, NAND Solutions, told a media briefing in Taipei.

EXPANSION

Micron is expanding its controller business after entering the SSD market one year ago, Kilbuck said.

SSD is a data storage device that uses NAND-based flash memory to store data.

SSD is used in ultra-thin mobile devices, replacing conventional hard disc drives.

Kilbuck said he would meet some controller suppliers during his trip to Taiwan. He declined to reveal the names of those companies.

Phison Electronics Corp (群聯) and Solid State System Co (鑫創) are two of the nation’s major SSD controller chipmakers.

Next year, Micron is expected to grow its NAND flash memory output by at least 60 -percent from this year by ramping up a new plant in Singapore and by migrating to next-generation 20-nanometer technology, Kilbuck said.

Micron is ramping up its Singapore plant, which will produce an estimated 60,000 12-inch wafers a month, he said. The chipmaker operates two other factories in Utah and Virginia.

In response to media queries whether Micron would follow Samsung Electronics Co’s steps in building a NAND flash memorychip factory in China, Kilbuck said Micron was ramping up the Singapore factory and could double the factory’s monthly capacity to 120,000 wafers, if it decided to invest more capital.

Demand for NAND flash memory chips is expected to grow more than 60 percent next year because of the fast uptake of smartphones, tablets and data storage devices, meaning that supply and demand will almost be balanced, he said.

ULTRABOOKS

Micron is also in discussions with ultrabook computer makers to supply SSD products, Kilbuck said.

Taiwanese PC companies, including Acer Inc (宏碁) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), are among the most aggressive ultrabook computer promoters in the world, given their long-term partnership with Intel Corp.

Micron is scheduled to offer its SSD product, dubbed mSATA, sometime next year.

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