Taiwanese firms took an 8.4 percent share of the global DRAM market in the first quarter of this year, up from the 6.3 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of last year, a research group said on Tuesday.
DRAMexchange, a research division of market advisory firm TrendForce (集邦科技), said Nanya Technology Corp (南亞科技), the nation’s largest manufacturer of DRAM chips, saw its global market share increase to 4.6 percent in the January-to-March period from 3.6 percent in the final quarter of last year.
DRAMexchange said the rise in Nanya Technology’s market share reflected an increase in DRAM prices of almost 20 percent.
Despite the recovery in market share in the first quarter, the uptrend is unlikely to continue as the company has been reassigning part of its production capacity to its foundry and non-DRAM businesses, the research group said.
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co retained its title as the world’s largest DRAM maker, taking a 41.4 percent share after posting about US$2.6 billion (NT$76.2 billion) in sales, down 9.1 percent from the fourth quarter, due to falling prices of chips used in mobile devices, DRAMexchange said.
Although Samsung suffered a decline in sales, its operating margin stood at 12 percent, making it the only profitable DRAM manufacturer in the world.
Hynix Semiconductor Inc, another South Korean maker, came in second during the same period, taking a 23.9 percent share, and posting US$1.5 billion in sales in the first quarter, down 0.3 percent from the fourth quarter, the research group said.
DRAMexchange said although Hynix incurred further losses in the first quarter, as it has upgraded its process technology to 38 nanometer, the company is expected to turn a profit over the next six months.
Elpida Memory Inc of Japan replaced US-based Micron Technology Inc as the third-largest DRAM maker in the world, taking a 12.4 percent share after its first-quarter sales rose 0.3 percent from the fourth quarter to US$776 million, DRAMexchange said.
Micron, which had an 11.6 percent market share, posted US$729 million in sales, down 6.3 percent quarter-on-quarter, it added.
Earlier this week, local media reported that Micron had won the right to negotiate exclusively to buy Elpida after offering more than ￥200 billion (US$2.5 billion) for the bankrupt Japanese chipmaker.
If it takes over Elpida, Micron would expand its market share and replace Hynix as the world’s second-largest DRAM maker.
As Micron maintains a close partnership with Nanya Technology, with the two companies also jointly controlling Inotera Memories Inc (華亞科技), analysts hailed the development as they believe Micron’s acquisition of Elpida would help form a Taiwan-US-Japan alliance to battle the South Koreans’ dominance of the global market.
Should it acquire Elpida, Micron would expand its partnership to include Rexchip Electronics Inc (瑞晶電子), Powerchip Technology Corp (力晶科技) and Powertech Technology Inc (力成科技), the reports said.