YMTC makes progress in NAND Flash production
The YMTC owned by UNIS Group, is the company mainly producing and researching NAND flash memory among the three major memory chip camps in China. It is also the best company making obvious progress at present. Last year, it produced 32-layer stack 3D NAND flash memory on a small scale. Some days ago UNIS Presented the enterprise P8260 SSD at the Seventh China Electronic Information Expo (CITE2019) in Shenzhen, the SSD was using 32 layers of 3D NAND flash memory produced by YMTC. YMTC Storage is not supposed to produce 3D NAND flash memory with 32 layers on a large scale. Cheng Weihua, the CTO from YMTC, said in an interview that the plans for mass production of 3D NAND flash memory with 64 layers of stack in the second half of this year is progressing smoothly without any obstacles.
As YMTC is eagerly to make domestic chips, the mass production of 64 layers NAND flash must be added to the plan. Otherwise the technology gap in NAND flash comparing to Samsung or Hynix will be bigger and bigger.
According to the report, the CTO Cheng Weihua from YMTC said in an interview, "We have settled one large-scale production plan." At present, with the support of the Chinese government, YMTC Storage has built one semiconductor factory being worthy of US $24 billion in Wuhan, Nikkei reported that they will mass produce 64-layer stack 3D NAND flash memory.
In the interview, CTO Cheng Weihua said, "the production plan of YMTC Storage is progressing smoothly and there are no obstacles." He has not officially announced the mass production of 3D NAND flash memory with 64-layer stack this year, but experts say they will be able to launch 3D NAND flash memory with 64-layer stack this year once the company's mass production plan is realized.
Samsung and SK Hynix are currently using 3D NAND flash memory with 90-layer stacks. Since the research on 90-layer stacks had been completed last year, SK Hynix begins to launch mass production of 96-layer stack 3D NAND flash memory this year, and Samsung plans to push NAND flash memory with 100-layer stack in the second half of this year. Regarding the reports from China Semiconductor Forum, if YMTC can mass-produce 64-layer stack 3D NAND flash memory this year, the technology gap between YMTC and Samsung or the other companies can be narrowed to about 2 years.
Most importantly, there are concerns about the impact of YMTC storage entering the NAND flash sector, as NAND flash prices will fall more than expectation.
Some experts still doubt whether YMTC Storage will be able to mass-produce 64-layer stack 3D NAND flash memory this year, because the Chinese semiconductor maker has not yet been able to mass-produce 32-layer stack NAND flash memory.
But overall, it is unlike DRAM industry, YMTC Storage seems to have made progress in NAND Flash. If the NAND flash memory of the 64-layer stack is mass-produced in the second half of this year, the Chinese government may require Chinese smartphone and PC manufacturers to use domestic NAND flash memory. If this happens, it will seriously affect the profitability of the NAND business, which is also a concern for Samsung, Toshiba, Micron, SK Hynix and other NAND manufacturers.