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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Japan, Korea Competing Equally in 64Mb DRAM Production
  • August 24, 1998 (TOKYO) — Japan and Korea will likely occupy the same rank in the production of 64-megabit dynamic random access memory (DRAM) microchips in 1998, with both maintaining a global production share of 37.6 percent, according to a survey conducted by Nikkei Market Access, a membership IT data provider.
    The worldwide production of 64Mb DRAM microchips was about 80 million units in 1997, and it will increase to 680 million in 1998.

    Japan’s semiconductor makers drastically shifted their production from 16Mb DRAM to 64Mb DRAM microchips last year because of the sharp fall in the prices of 16Mb DRAM microchips. Thus, they jumped ahead of Korea’s makers in the production of 64Mb DRAM microchips.

    Korea’s makers started shifting to 64Mb DRAM microchips in the second half of 1998, and they are quickly catching up.

    Producers in the United States and Europe also are increasing their production of 64Mb DRAM microchips, and their combined share will reach 21.1 percent in 1998. Japanese makers took an initiative in the production of 64Mb DRAM microchips. But producers in Korea, the United States and Europe are running in hot pursuit.

    Micron Technology Inc. of the United States developed a 16Mb product with a very small die size (chip area) in June 1997, which swept over the market. Similar competitions in chip-shrinking technology also are intensifying in 64Mb DRAM microchips.

    This autumn, Micron will start shipments of a microchip with a die size of about 50 sq. mm. Japanese makers are ramping up production lines using design rules smaller than 0.20 micron and will begin shipping small-size microchip products.

    The chip-shrinking aims at reducing costs as well as expanding the production ratio of the PC100 synchronous DRAMs, which support a clock speed of 100 MHz.

    Personal computer makers are planning to increase the production of PCs using the PC100 SDRAM microchips. While DRAM makers are boosting the output of the PC100 SDRAM microchips, their supply cannot yet meet demand.

    Japan’s microchip makers are slightly ahead of overseas counterparts in the production of the PC100 SDRAM microchips. Korea’s makers have delayed their investments in chip-shrinking technology because of the nation’s economic turmoil, but they are planning operations for the PC100 SDRAM microchips as early as 1999.

    Related stories:
    Production of 64Mb DRAMs to Reach 700M Units in ’98: Nikkei Market Access
    Hitachi to Mass Produce 40 mm2 64Mb DRAM in ’99

    (Nikkei Market Access)

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