SAN JOSE, Calif. — South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc. experienced strong growth in DRAMs for the first quarter, allowing it to come within striking distance of market leader Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., according to iSuppli Corp.
Hynix had DRAM revenue of $2.2 billion in the first quarter of 2007, up 4.1 percent from $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.). Hynix managed to increase its share of global DRAM revenue to 22.2 percent, a 3 percentage point rise compared to 19.2 percent, according to the firm.
Hynix also made gains in DRAM shipments, surpassing Samsung and taking the number-one position in the unit ranking in the first quarter for the first time, iSuppli said. The company increased its unit shipments by 45 percent in the first quarter. This gave Hynix a 22.7 percent share of DRAM units in the fourth quarter and put it 9 million units ahead of perennial leader Samsung, according to the firm.
South Korea's Samsung ''underperformed the DRAM market'' in the first quarter with revenue of $2.5 billion, down 15.9 percent from $3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006, according to iSuppli. This caused Samsung's DRAM share to decline to 26.1 percent in first quarter, down 1.9 points from 28 percent in the fourth, it said.
''Hynix rocked in the first quarter,'' said Nam Hyung Kim, director and principal analyst for iSuppli, in a statement. ''The company's strong performance was due to its higher-than-expected production using 80-nm process technology and its capacity reallocation from NAND to DRAM. Meanwhile, Samsung suffered a revenue decline because of its limited capacity growth during the quarter.''
Japan's Elpida Memory Inc. saw its DRAM revenue market share reached 12.4 percent in the first quarter, up from 11.2 percent in the fourth quarter. Elpida's revenue amounted to $1.197 billion in the first quarter, down a mere 0.1 percent from $1.198 billion in the fourth, according to the firm.
Elpida displaced Micron in the fourth quarter last year in terms of unit shipments and now has only a marginal gap from the number-three supplier, Qimonda. Elpida grew its bit shipments by 40 percent, compared to single-digit growth by Samsung and Qimonda.
Global DRAM revenue declined to $9.7 billion in the first quarter, down from $10.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006. The major factor behind the decline was a 26 percent decline in DRAM average selling prices (ASPs) during the quarter. However, global DRAM revenue increased by 49 percent compared to the first quarter of 2006.