Mobile phones will drive memory card sales, SanDisk says

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wed, Nov 09, 2005 - Page 10

SanDisk Corp, the world's largest maker of flash-memory cards for electronic gadgets, expects the growing momentum of handset sales to continue to drive up demand for its products in the near future, company executives said yesterday.

"The expanding cellphone market will present us with long-term opportunities, especially now that more people are using memory cards for their MP3 phones and camera phones," Nelson Chan, SanDisk executive vice president and general manager of consumer and handset business, told reporters yesterday.

Citing figures from research house International Data Corp, Chan said that the total number of cellphones using memory cards will grow to over 500 million units in 2008, soaring from around 150 million units this year.

The other high-growth areas will originate from digital audio, game consoles, personal data storage and digital imaging markets, which are maturing industries set to offer more room for expansion, he said.

Banking on digital multimedia trends, the Sunnyvale, California-based SanDisk intends to unveil its universal serial bus (USB) service based on the U3 platform next year in Taiwan, said Teresa Yeh (葉秀君), senior retail central product manger from Princeton Technology C&C Corp (正達國際) -- the sole distributor of SanDisk products in Taiwan.

The USB key automatically creates a personal workspace when plugged in, allowing users to work on any other computer as if it were their own. Users will have access to their files, the ability to send and receive e-mail and run applications directly from the keys without installing software on the host computer.

Yeh also said that the company is in discussions with several local companies to offer the Internet phone service Skype as well as anti-virus and security software within these USBs for Taiwanese consumers. She did not elaborate.

SanDisk's revenue in Taiwan is expected to reach US$26 million this year, up from US$20 million last year, according to Yeh. The company reported last month that its third-quarter earnings nearly doubled to US$107.5 million from a year ago.

Handset cards will contribute up to 25 percent to sales next year, Yeh said.