Fri, Mar 09, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Macronix upbeat, expects chip prices, supply to stabilize

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Macronix International Co (旺宏電子), which supplies read-only memory (ROM) chips to Japan’s Nintendo Co, yesterday gave a positive outlook for this year, saying chip prices should stabilize on the back of supply constraints and robust customer demand.

The company has had a good start this year, with revenue in the first two months rising 38 percent year-on-year to NT$2.72 billion (US$92.96 million).

“Order visibility is quite good [this year] ... The company’s three major product lines should grow this year [from last year],” Macronix chairman and CEO Miin Wu (吳敏求) told a news conference.

Macronix posted a record-high revenue of NT$34.2 billion last year, up 42 percent from NT$24.13 billion in 2016, amid a supply crunch and strong customer demand.

NOR flash memory was the biggest revenue source for the Hsinchu-based company.

Customers are still lining up for high-density memory chips, Macronix said.

Given the rising demand, the company expects its 8-inch and 12-inch factories to be fully utilized throughout the year, Wu said.

The company has continued to add new customers, including manufacturers of cryptocurrency mining tools, to expand its business scope, he said.

The recent mining craze has spurred demand for advanced chips and high-density memory chips, which has benefited Macronix, Wu said.

Wu expects the second half to be a peak season for sales, with revenue accounting for 70 percent of its full-year sales, in line with the pattern over the past few years.

Wu said the company plans to ramp up production of 3D ROM at the end of this year and to begin producing 3D NAND flash memory in 2020.

“The company’s ultimate goal is to enter the mainstream NAND market to compete with the world’s big four players,” Wu said.

The ability to make 3D NAND flash memory is the ticket for Macronix to enter the mainstream market, he said.

The company has secured its supply of silicon wafers from Sumco Corp and GlobalWafers Corp (環球晶圓), downplaying concerns over the shortage of a key raw material.

Silicon wafer prices have surged more than 30 percent due to persistent supply constraints, Wu said.

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