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Toshiba closing in on Samsung as NAND flash market share soars

17 December 2009 | By Mark Osborne | News > Fab Management

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With its three-bit-per-cell flash technology ramping nicely and acres of cleanroom space available for capacity expansion, Toshiba is rapidly closing the gap in the NAND flash market share rankings, according to the latest figures from iSuppli Corp. Toshiba was able boost NAND flash revenues an impressive 47.5%, quarter on quarter, reaching US$1.36 billion in the third quarter, up from US$924 million in the second quarter, according to the market research firm. The net result was a market share of 34.6% in the third quarter, up from 29.4 percent in the second quarter. Although Samsung retained the No 1 position, its 39.3% market share looks significantly less unassailable than at anytime in recent years.

“Toshiba in the third quarter was able to capitalize on favorable NAND market conditions with its expanded capacity and high Average Selling Price (ASP),” said Michael Yang, Senior Analyst, Memory and Storage for iSuppli. “The company was able to expand its shipments. Furthermore, the company is the leader in production of three-bit-per-cell parts, which have lower manufacturing costs, thus improving profitability.”

As 200mm fabs closed and memory manufacturers drastically cut capital spending in an attempt to reverse the sever overcapacity and financial losses, demand started to improve. The overall NAND ASP rose by 18.5% in the second quarter and by 40 percent in the third quarter, according to iSuppli.

Although the fourth quarter is typically seasonally weaker than the third quarter the tight supply environment is expected to generate only a small ASP decline of 2.9%, indicating strong revenue is still expected in the fourth quarter.

“In 2009, NAND flash suppliers decided they no longer wanted to bleed red ink,” Yang said. “By shutting down some of their 200-millimeter production lines, the NAND flash suppliers were able to reverse the oversupply, boosting prices and expanding market revenue.”  

iSuppli said that its expects NAND flash to achieve double-digit growth with a projected 16.4% rise in revenue for the year. In contrast, global semiconductor revenue in 2009 is expected to decrease by 12.4%.

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