As the unit Die capacity of 64-layer 3D NAND from most original factories increases to 256Gb or 512Gb in 2018, manufacturers also promote the technological development of QLC and 96-layer at the same time. The NAND Flash Bit market is expected to grow by 40% in 2018. For consumer electronics, the first half of the year is called traditional off-season. The demand for smartphones, notebooks and tablets was weak in the first half of 2018. What’s worse, the original factories did some extra investments and built new factories, which made the price of NAND Flash continue to decline. According to the quotation of ChinaFlashMarket, the composite price index has fallen by 35% in total, and the price of 1GB has dropped to $0.16 in the first half year of 2018.
In the main application market of NAND Flash, shipments in China mobile phone market declined by about 20% in the first half of 2018 compared with the same period last year. Weak demand for mobile phones has led to a sustained decline of eMMC prices. The price of 32GB eMMC TLC had a decrease from $10.8 to $8.7, which dropped 19.5% in total, and the price of 64GB eMMC TLC dropped from $18.5 to $15.5, whose cumulative decline was up to 16.3%.
The new round of expanding production of the original factories is expected to erupt in 2019.
In 2018, the original factories set off a wave of expanding production. After Samsung Fab18 factory putting on production, factory of phase 2 began the process of construction in Xi’an, China. On the research and development of 3D NAND technology, original factories will achieve the mass-production of 96 3D NAND at the end of 2018, and they plan to produce in factories located in Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek，South Korea. Meanwhile, they plan to start the research and development of 128-layer 3D NAND. In addition to the construction of new Fab6 factory, Western Digital and Toshiba are planning to build a new Fab7 factory, claiming that the fourth-generation BiCS4 3D NAND has been sold to certain customers and will soon be introduced to the market.
Micron is expanding its phase 3 factory of Fab10, meanwhile Micron and Intel are planning to introduce a 64-layer QLC to enhance their technological advantages. It is expected that the sample of 96-layer 3D NAND will be sent to test in the second half of 2018 and achieve mass production in 2019. SK Hynix is paying main attention to improve the output of 72-layer 3D NAND，doing research on 96-layer 3D NAND actively, and planning to build a new M15 factory.
According to the planning process of 96-layer 3D NAND of original factories, the new factory is expected to put into production in the second half of 2019, mainly used to produce 96-layer 3D NAND. With the increasing demand for NAND flash, most original factories would build new factories every two or three years to expand production capacity. Due to the centralized development of new production capacity, it always leads to excess supply over demand and decline of price in NAND Flash market. Now, the new production capacity will be developed in 2019, coupled with the high-density advantage of 96-layer technology, and the supply is possible to exceed demand in NAND Flash market.
China's storage industry continues to advance, and the localization of memory chips is just around the corner.
In addition to accelerating the expansion of NAND Flash technology and production capacity, Chinese storage industry has also made some breakthroughs under the joint support of financial investment, large funds and local governments. In the aspect of NAND Flash, Yangtze Memory has successfully developed and shipped 32-layer 3D NAND, and a new national storage base with a total investment of 24 billion dollars has been equipped with production facilities in April. It is expected to start production in the second half of 2018, and is possible to achieve the mass-production of 64-layer 3D NAND in 2019.
In the aspect of DRAM memory, Hefei Changxin, which focuses on DRAM, has started to develop the technology of 19nm, and have prepared nearly 300 R&D equipments for wafer factory, which is necessary for producing 12-inch wafer. After installation, it is estimated that the production of 8GB DDR4 project sample will be started by the end of 2018, and the production capacity will reach 20,000 pieces per month in 2019. It will start to plan the construction of phase 2 and begin the research and development of 17nm technology. Fujian Jinhua wafer factory will be officially put into production in September 2018. It is expected to produce 60,000 pieces of 12-inch wafers per month, which is made in processing procedure of 32 nanometers.
Mobile devices and SSD are still the mainstream applications in the market, and the future of NAND Flash is worth looking forward to.
Embedded storage and SSD consume at least 80% production capacity of NAND Flash every year. In the embedded market, Samsung and Apple upgrade the capacity of high-end mobile phones to 128GB or 256GB in 2018. The capacity of Huawei, OPPO, VIVO, Xiaomi and other mobile phones is 64GB or over, and 128GB for main capacity. And smartphones with TB-class capacity actually exist. Although the price of embedded products continued to decline in the first half of 2018, it helps to stimulate demand of the second half of this year and upgrade the market demand to a high capacity.
For SSD market, the prices of SATA SSD in consumer channel market continued to decline, which made the price of 240GB fall back to 2016. This result is beneficial for stimulating the rapid growth of SSD market demand and promoting the capacity of 240GB as the mainstream market demand. In consumer PC OEM market, as the requirements of PC performance become higher and higher, the demand for SSD is also increasing, and main requirements of capacity is 256GB. It is predicted that more than half PC will be equipped with SSD in 2018. In addition, there is strong demand for SSD in data centers, servers and other fields, and the capacity requirements of Enterprise SSD are moving towards 8TB.