On its way out the door the Obama Administration put together a proposed response to China’s plans to invest $150 billion in the semiconductor market over the next five years. It seems that US semiconductor industry views China’s investment as a threat to its position in the market.
Last week the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) delivered a 25-page Report to the President entitled: “Ensuring Long-Term U.S. Leadership in Semiconductors.”
You might ask: “Who is PCAST?” The organization states its mission in this paragraph: “The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is an advisory group of the Nation’s leading scientists and engineers, appointed by the President to augment the science and technology advice available to him from inside the White House and from cabinet departments and other Federal agencies. PCAST is consulted about, and often makes policy recommendations concerning, the full range of issues where understandings from the domains of science, technology, and innovation bear potentially on the policy choices before the President.”
PCAST has a small Semiconductors Working Group whose elite members include Continue reading “US Plans Response to China’s Chip Plan”
China foundry XMC has broken ground for its new 3D NAND flash fab, the country’s first China-owned 3D NAND flash facility. Plans for this fab were publicly disclosed over a year ago. Simon Yang, XMC’s CEO, gave a presentation at SEMI’s Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) on January 11, 2015 in which he detailed the need for China to produce a larger proportion of its overall chips, explaining how his company would help make that happen.
Yang used the map in this post’s graphic to show that XMC has enough land on its campus for six 300mm wafer fabs. Two shells (yellow), each capable of processing 30,000 wafers per month, had been constructed by that time: Fab A (left) was already fully utilized, and Fab B (right) was ready for tooling. The gray boxes show that the site has enough space to build 2 additional 2-line megafabs, each with a capacity of up to 100k wafers per month. Accoding to DRAMeXchange XMC currently produces 20,000 wafers of NOR flash per month. A March 30 China Daily article reports that monthly wafer production will reach 300,000 in 2020 and 1 million in 2030.
XMC’s formal name is Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing, and it is located Continue reading “XMC Breaks Ground for 3D NAND Fab”
There are some who still believe that Toshiba made good on its announcement to cut NAND flash production by 30%. Let’s take a close look to see if that really happened.
Readers may recall that Toshiba stated last July that it would immediately cut NAND flash production by 30%. At the time NAND was selling below cost for spot prices as low as 31 cents/GB.
The Memory Guy questioned both the wisdom of the move and its authenticity in a blog post at that time, since this level of cut would reduce Toshiba’s market share while increasing its Continue reading “A Retrospect of Toshiba’s NAND Production Cut”
Every so often I run into someone who asks about the discrepancy between various analysts’ NAND market share rankings and SanDisk’s shipments. After all, SanDisk is a leading producer of flash memory and has captive manufacture through its joint venture with Toshiba. Yet, most market share rankings leave SanDisk out.
What’s going on here?
Owing to a long-standing convention SanDisk’s NAND chips aren’t counted since they are sold as “Systems” (with a controller.) The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) set that rule up, and most analysts Continue reading “Why Most NAND Rankings Ignore SanDisk”
Over lunch today I had a conversation with an alum of McKinsey Consulting who remarked that the DRAM business behaved in a way that was similar to the McKinsey Steel Model. For those unfamiliar with this model I found a slideshow HERE that refers to it a good deal. (So far I have not found a tutorial on the model itself, but if anyone knows were to find it The Memory Guy would highly appreciate hearing about it.)
One interesting thing is that this particular McKinsey alum was not the first to point this out to me. About 15 years ago a family friend/McKinsey alum told me exactly the same thing. It seems that the economics of the DRAM business have changed little over the past 15 years, and the McKinsey steel model applies to DRAMs just as well now as it did then.
In a nutshell, the model posits that the market price for Continue reading “Why DRAMs are Like Steel”
Today I saw an announcement from another market research firm about a new report with flash memory market shares for 2011. I found it remarkable that the way these chips are counted varies enough that the company decided to openly discuss this issue right in the press release for the report!
Memory market statistics are compiled by numerous firms: The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) sold in the US and Europe by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), Gartner Dataquest, IHS iSuppli, Web Feet, Semico, Forward Insights, and even DRAMexchange. Lots of entities use conflicting definitions of what is and what is not a chip. This causes each company’s numbers to differ from the others’.
In the case of WSTS, a chip that is packaged with another chip into a board becomes Continue reading “Figuring Out Who Shipped What”
The annual International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) is a gathering in which the brightest minds in semiconductors come to meet and share the results of their recent research and development efforts. This year the four keynotes at the opening plenary centered on a “Green” outlook, through Storage, Control, Computing, and Energy.
Naturally, as “The Memory Guy,” I focused all of my attention upon the storage keynote, given by SanDisk’s recently-retired CEO Eli Harari. Some of the more interesting points I came away with were: Continue reading “Harari Delivers Inspiring Keynote at ISSCC”
2012 is likely to be a year in which the DRAM market consolidates a little bit more.
- At its peak in the late 1980s the DRAM market sported 23 suppliers.
- Today there are 6 suppliers of any note: Samsung, Hynix, Micron, Elpida, Nanya, and Powerchip
- The already-depressed market is only going to worsen in 2012. Capital spending in 2010 is seeing to that. Although many believe that prices cannot get any lower, that is exactly what they will do in 2012. Continue reading “DRAM Consolidation in 2012?”