South Korean electronic giant, Samsung, happens to be the largest semiconductor company in the world and even beats the likes of Intel, Toshiba and SanDisk, all of which are also quite dominant in the semiconductor industry. Being the largest semiconductor producer in the world, Samsung unsurprisingly reaps in large profits from its sale of NAND flash memory.
According to a new report from IHS, a market research firm, Samsung's NAND flash memory sales has reached an all-time high for the first quarter of this year. Samsung managed to earn $2.6 billion in revenue for the first quarter which is a 3.1 percent increase from the previous quarter, which saw revenue amounting to $2.5 billion. While the global market demand for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is slowing down due to the waning demand for PCs, the NAND flash memory market is rapidly growing as the demand for solid-state drives (SSD) is rising. Almost 30 percent of laptops in the market have NAND flash memory incorporated and servers are also starting to use these chips. As for Samsung's global market share in the NAND flash memory industry, it has increased by 0.6% from the previous quarter and currently stands at 42.6%. This is followed by Japanese corporation, Toshiba which has managed to capture 28.0% of the market and represents a large increase of 4.0% from the previous quarter. At third place is US-based Micron Technology with 18.8% and Korea’s SK Hynix comes in at fourth with 10.6% of the market share.
Samsung has been at the top of the semiconductor industry since 2002 and was the first company to introduce and mass produce 3-D NAND technology. The company currently produces a third generation 48-layer V-NAND flash memory chips which faces no competition so far. Demand for the V-NAND is extremely high as it outlasts the original NAND flash memory chips by an extra 10 years and is also energy efficient, consuming 50% less power than conventional NAND flash memory chips. However, Samsung is facing stiffening competition from rival chip makers such as Intel, IBM and Micron, all of which are aiming to produce NAND flash memory which will be much faster than current NAND technology. Toshiba has also partnered with Western Digital to invest $14.6 billion to build facilities for the production of 3-D NAND flash chips.