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Memory sector news: Chips are moving; what about sales?


Last week's biggest memory news was certainly the many reports of Apple's large order of "100 million 8 Gb NAND flash chips from Samsung and others," sparking rumors of another summer iPhone release, likely a 32Gb third generation (3G), to boost consumer sales and continue the summer release trend.

According to DigiTimes on 9 February 2009, in addition to the Apple purchase, "Nokia and Sony recently also began building their NAND flash inventories, further tightening supply."  DigiTimes further noted that the end result has been a 16% increase in contract prices for NAND flash for the first half of April due simply to supply-demand effects and chipmakers not looking to increase production during 2Q09.

Good news for NAND suppliers, but does this translate into a broader uptick in electronics sales now or, as in the above examples, in the near future?

Well, according to Circuits Assembly, the March sales data for Taiwan indicate that "[a]lmost every major Taiwanese electronics maker reported month-on-month gains in March."  Sequential changes ranged from low teens to upwards of 40%.

Rounding out the good news for memory, is yesterday's Wall Street Journal report that "[t]he Japanese government will lift punitive tariffs on [DRAM] computer chips South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc. makes [...]."  The elimination of the three-year-long 9.1% tariff (initially set at 27.2%, lowered to 9.1% in September 2008, after pressure from the World Trade Organization) could certainly bode well for sales in the tech-hungry Japanese market.

Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Monday, 13 April 2009 00:00 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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