China catching up in 3D-NAND flash race

May 30, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
China catching up in 3D-NAND flash race
The recent slow-down in the memory component market has inhibited the established 3D-NAND flash players from pursuing 128-layer technology but is allowing China's Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC) to catch up, according to TrendForce.

YMTC forms the main part of NAND flash development in China and is on course to be mass producing 64-layer Xtacking 3D NAND products in 2019 and on schedule, TrendForce said. Next YMTC has chosen to go straight to 128-layer products in 2020 omitting the 96-layer stop in an attempt to narrow the one-to-two year technology gap.

The company has already sent 32-layer examples to some customers in 1Q19 focusing on Chinese sales. Construction of its Wuhan wafer fab has been completed with some 32-layer NAND production allocated.

YMTC's capacity expansion plans for 2020 are to reach 60k wafers per month and this is also expected to impact supply and prices in the NAND flash market. Other manufacturers are planning to open up wafer fabs post-2020.

Samsung is planning phase 2 in Xi'an, Toshiba planning a fab an Iwate fab, Micron has a third plant in Singapore and SK Hynix is looking to use remaining space in its M15 plant as well as a follow on M16 plant. This could make for even more intense competition, said TrendForce.

TrendForce said YMTC's impact on the future 3D NAND market is "inevitable and unstoppable."

Related links and articles:

News articles:

Yangtze makes 32-layer NAND flash

'Xtacking' approach offers faster 3D-NAND, claims Yangtze

IC Insights, SEMI far apart on significance of Chinese IC production

Toshiba starts sampling 96-layer, quad bit 3D-NAND

Intel, Micron call time on 3D-NAND collaboration

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