Samsung Expanding NAND Flash Unit Amidst Surging Demand

July 17, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Samsung Electronics is ramping up its efforts to expand its NAND flash memory operations amidst a surging global demand that allowed the company to overtake Intel as the world’s largest chipmaker last quarter. While industry watchers remain skeptical regarding the tech giant’s ability to maintain the performance of its chip unit in the long term, the South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer is seemingly adamant to continue catering to the increasing demand for NAND flash memory chips that is said to be largely driven by smartphone makers. The company has been expanding its Pyeongtaek Line 1 for some time now but recent reports indicate that it’s accelerating its efforts to do so, looking to seize an even larger hold of this growing segment and solidify its leading position in the business.

The plant that’s expected to be opened in the near future is said to be designed for flow production of 4G 3D NAND flash memory solutions that Samsung’s competitors are reportedly still struggling with, being unable to reach sufficiently consistent yield rates. The second floor of the largest two-layer semiconductor factory in the world was originally set to be opened by March 2018 and should be completed before that deadline, one insider with knowledge of the situation suggested on Sunday. As one of the biggest buyers of mobile NAND memory, Apple is believed to be one of the driving forces in the industry that’s now racing to address the rising demand for 3D NAND chips, with Samsung’s other competitors including the likes of SK Hynix and Toshiba. The current state of the market is attributed to a combination of factors, as server manufacturers are currently largely replacing hard disk drives (HDDs) with solid state drives (SSDs) that utilize NAND flashes, while storage capacities of mobile devices are rising on a rapid basis, prompting original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to look for more spacious solutions.

The stellar performance of Samsung’s chip business is said to have played a large part in the fact that the tech giant survived the 2016 Galaxy Note 7 ordeal without significant financial consequences and has also been driving the company’s market value in recent months, though it remains to be seen whether other chipmakers will eventually be able to catch up with the firm. An update on the situation should follow in the coming months.