February 20, 2013---According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, during the fourth quarter of last year mobile DRAM gained a tremendous boost from the peak shipping season of smartphones. The quarterly sales of Apple's iPhone 5 broke records and exceeded 40 million units, whereas alternative brands like Nokia's Lumia920 surpassed expectations with better-than-anticipated results. Benefiting from the positive sales performances and surging shipments of mid-to-low end smartphones, 4Q12 mobile DRAM revenue saw a growth of approximately 21.4% QoQ and arrived at $2.444 billion USD, the highest for a single quarter in 2012.
Compared to others, the Korea-based mobile DRAM manufacturers have been able to enjoy relatively stronger growth as more and more mid-to-low end smartphones adopt the MCP/eMCP solutions. Samsung and SK Hynix's 4Q revenue increased from the previous quarter by around 26.9% and 36.5%, respectively, and both manufacturers account for approximately 78.5% of the market. The oligopolistic state in the mobile DRAM industry is currently even more noticeable than that in the PC DRAM industry.
Elpida, which ranks third behind Samsung and SK Hynix, benefited from the increased shipments of new Apple products and enjoyed a revenue growth of around 11.3%. As Qualcomm prefers to use the PoP (Package on Package) solutions to get better performance, the company continues to have an important place in the high-end smartphone market. Elpida's high density products are expected to become a major go-to choice as smartphone manufacturers become increasingly concerned about Samsung's status.
For Micron, increases in the storage capacities of mid-to-low end smartphones and the market demand for high density DRAM have caused a product gap and led to both decreased revenues and market share. The US-based company, as of now, is in fourth place and accounts for around 1.3% of the market's revenue. Aside from Winbond, which still has a role in the feature phone market, Taiwan based DRAM manufacturers like Nanya are attempting to increase the proportion of revenue earned from mobile DRAM. As the mainstream 4/8Gb LPDDR2 makes its entrance into the market, there is hope for revenue within the mobile DRAM market to gradually increase in the periods to come.
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4Q12 Mobile DRAM Revenue Grows 21%, Korean DRAM Manufacturers Claim 80% of the Market
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