Micron Technology Inc.’s dynamic-random access memory (DRAM) [Photo provided by Micron]
U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. overtook South Korea’s SK hynix Inc. as the second-largest player in the global dynamic-random access memory (DRAM) market for the first time in nine years amid the continued recession in the chip industry.
According to Taiwanese market research firm TrendForce Corp. on Thursday, Micron Technology raised $2.72 billion in DRAM sales in the January-March period, down 8 percent from $2.83 billion in the previous quarter. The U.S. chipmaker beat SK hynix, which saw its sales plunge by 31.7 percent to $2.3 billion during the same period.
SK hynix retained its second position in the DRAM market in the fourth quarter of last year with a share of 27.6 percent versus 23.1 percent of Micron Technology. In the first quarter, however, Micron Technology accounted for 28.2 percent and SK hynix 23.9 percent.
The last time SK hynix gave in to Micron Technology was in fourth quarter of 2013 when it suffered a decline in shipments due to a fire that broke out at its Wuxi plant in China in September of that year.
SK hynix regained the second place in the first quarter of 2014 and has maintained the position until the fourth quarter of last year.
Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest memory chipmaker, raised $4.17 billion in DRAM sales in the first quarter, accounting for 43.2 percent of the market. Its sales fell 24.7 percent from the previous quarter.
Samsung Electronics, Micron Technology, and SK hynix, which account for more than 95 percent of the DRAM market, have started to cut production in the first quarter to overcome the sluggish industry environment.
TrendForce data showed that first-quarter DRAM sales stood at $9.7 billion, down 21.2 percent from $12.27 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.
“The significant dip represents the third consecutive quarter where revenues have fallen,” TrendForce said in a release. “An enduring oversupply issue, which has led to an ongoing slump in prices, is the chief culprit behind the decline.”
TrendForce added that the industry expects a “gradual slowing in the rate of price decline following planned production cuts” but its second-quarter forecast suggests “the ongoing price fall might limit potential revenue growth” in the second quarter.
By Choi Seung-jin, Oh Chang-jong, and Choi Jieun
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