Long-suffering memory maker Hynix Semiconductor is continuing to surprise the marketplace by overtaking Micron to become the world's second-largest supplier of DRam.
Both Gartner and iSuppli have ranked Hynix as the new number two in their newly released second-quarter revenue figures for the DRam industry. According to Gartner, Hynix posted revenues of $1.1bn for the quarter and controlled a market share of 17.1 per cent, behind market leader Samsung with 29.7 per cent.
Micron fell to third place with a 15.3 per cent share, and is in danger of falling even further as Infineon Technologies, ranked fourth, closed the gap to just over one per cent.
For Q2 the DRam industry generated revenues of $6.7bn, a jump of almost 20 per cent on Q1 and the highest for four years.
"Hynix Semiconductor was one of the top performers in Q2," said Andrew Norwood, principal analyst at Gartner's semiconductor research group.
"Hynix's strong presence in the legacy and graphics DRam segments, which had strong pricing, enabled it to outgrow its rivals, Micron and Infineon."
Nam Hyung Kim, principal analyst at iSuppli, said: "This represents another market share triumph for Hynix, which retook the number-three DRam ranking from Infineon Technologies in Q4 2003.
"Hynix boosted its DRam revenue by 23 per cent compared with Q1. In contrast, Micron's DRam sales increased by a modest two per cent. This is an impressive achievement for Hynix."
The South Korean memory maker has suffered many setbacks in recent years, including near bankruptcy and a failed merger with Micron.
The company has also been lumbered with punitive tariffs from the US and Europe on its DRam products after it emerged that it was being unfairly subsidised by billion-dollar loans from government-owned banks.
Hynix also benefited from a change in focus at both Micron and Infineon, which have diversified their operations to non-DRam areas, including logic and CMOS image sensors.
Although the overall Q2 results have proved that the DRam industry is flying high this year, the outlook for 2005 is less optimistic.
"We are entering the height of the DRam boom. The industry is heading for a recession in 2005," said Norwood.
"While the DRam vendors are gaining profits, they are increasing their capital expenditures on new production facilities. These will come online in late 2005 and through 2006, triggering an oversupply-driven downturn. All of the DRam vendors will need a survival strategy to remain competitive."
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