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Hynix overtakes Micron in world DRAM chart

Outgrows Infineon too

South Korean memory maker Hynix has knocked the USA's Micron off the number two spot in Gartner's global DRAM manufacturer chart, the market watcher reported yesterday.

Hynix also managed to out-grow its other arch-rival, Germany's Infineon, the researcher said. However, Japan's Elpida was the real growth winning, notching up a 50 per cent sequential increase in revenues, enough to push Taiwan's Nanya out of the top five.

According to Gartner, worldwide DRAM chip sales totalled $6.7bn during Q2, up 19.8 per cent on Q1 to reach the highest quarterly total for four years. H1 2004 sales were up 65.9 per cent on the same period last year.

Hynix's share of Q2's total revenue was 17.1 per cent, well behind Samsung's commanding - and continued - 29.7 per cent lead. Micron came third (15.3 per cent), followed by Infineon (14.1 per cent), Elpida (5.4 per cent) and all the rest (18.4 per cent).

Q2 marked the first time Hynix held the number two spot since 1999, the year in which it was formed from the merger of Hyundai and LG's separate chip businesses.

"Hynix's strong presence in the legacy and graphics DRAM segments, which had strong pricing, enabled it to outgrow its rivals Micron and Infineon," said Gartner principal chip analyst Andrew Norwood. By contrast, Micron's moves to diversify away from DRAM pushed sales down and, as Norwood put it, "cost it the number two position".

Hynix saw revenues grow 23.7 per cent, third only to Samsung's 24.9 per cent growth rate and Elpida's 50 per cent. These were the only top five companies to outperform the industry average of 19.8 per cent growth.

But lest anyone in the DRAM business get cocky about their company's performance, Norwood warned of troubled times ahead. "While the DRAM vendors are gaining profits, they are increasing their capital expenditures on new production facilities," he said. "These will come online in late 2005 and through 2006, triggering an oversupply-driven downturn."

In short, he said, Q2's figures are "as good as it gets". ®

Q2 Global DRAM Chip Revenues
Rank Vendor Q2 Revenue Q2 Market Share Q1 Revenue Q1 Market Share Growth
1 Samsung $1.98bn 29.7% $1.59bn 28.4% 24.9%
2 Hynix $1.14bn 17.1% $921m 16.5% 23.7%
3 Micron $1.02bn 15.3% $1.00bn 18% 1.9%
4 Infineon $941m 14.1% $798m 14.3% 17.9%
5 Elpida $360m 5.4% $240m 4.3% 50%
  Others $1.24bn 18.4% $1.03bn 18.5% 19.8%
  Total $6.68bn 100% $5.57bn 100% 19.8%

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