Owing to the rebound of automotive demands and sky-rocketing needs for data storage and computing in the five main fields namely 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud services, automotive electronics, and Internet of Things, DRAM memory chips are seeing a severe undersupply which is expected to extend until 2022, according to Micron Technology Inc. CEO, Sanjay Mehrotra.
US-based Micron is the world’s third largest DRAM chips vendor, taking up 20% of the market share, behind two Korea-based companies, Samsung and SK Hynix, and sits the fifth largest NAND Flash supplier which takes up roughly 10% of the market share.
Micron has invested in some of the most advanced memory chip technologies in Taiwan due to the country’s key position in the semiconductor industry.
According to industry insiders, Micron is responding to memory chip shortages, which is predicted to grow between 15% to 19 % for DRAM chips and 30% for NAND flash, by investing US$ 9 billion this year, where most of the capital is used to boost research and development as well as augment production equipment.
Meanwhile, the company’s Taiwan-based 1αDRAM technology that is under volume production, is the most advanced node technology worldwide by far. The basic storage density has outperformed the previous generation 1z by more than 40%, surpassing its counterparts by competitors, such as Samsung.
With the Taiwan-based production line, Micron will continue developments on various memory chip production technologies – 1β, 1γ, 1δ, on low-power consumptions for different electronic products. Evaluations for adopting EUV to boost production capacity are also underway.
Having hired around 9,000 local employees in Taiwan, Micron is the largest foreign invested enterprise in the country and has invested in setting up the A3 plant in Central Taiwan Science Park, which has postponed its inauguration this month due to the current Covid19 outbreaks.
But the plant will be set to perform Micron’s most advanced 1αDRAM technology.
Smartphone productions are expected to grow 8.5% this year according to Trendforce with a downgrade due to the second coronavirus wave in India, and 5G smartphone shipments will also double that of last year, further increasing data usage and communications to a new level, and pushes the telecommunication providers for servers upgrade to keep up with better services.
Under the prevailing pandemic, working at home and homeschooling are becoming a common practice that is enabled by online services. Not only the customers’ end but also cloud services are upgrading at an unprecedented rate. Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PS5 have all seen sales growth, further boosting the memory chip demand.
With the leading pure-play semiconductor manufacturer TSMC and IC designer MediaTek, and given Micron’s deployment in Taiwan combining locally based Nanya Technology Corp., Macronix International Co., Winbond, Powerchip Technology Corp., and others in the supply chain, Taiwan’s memory chip industry has a good chance of benefiting from it.