Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Changing its Strategy for Mid-range and Low-end Phones

https://korean-electronics.com//inquirySamsung Electronics plans to modify its midrange and low-end smartphone strategy, preloading the advanced technology on the mid-range and low-end smartphone including the Galaxy A series and expanding the release of new models.

This means Samsung will apply radical reform and innovation in all fields of smartphone including production, technology development and marketing, and significant changes in strategy of Samsung’s smartphone are thus expected.

Koh Dongjin, President of Samsung’s IT & Mobile Business, said in an interview with CNBC of the United States, “We plan to show new technology and differentiated products starting from the midrange and low-end smartphones. We will introduce mid-range and lower-end smartphones broader than existing ones by working out a new strategy.” President Koh announced that he would apply a mid-range and low-end smartphone strategy different from the conventional one even after the release of Galaxy Note 9 last month.

Samsung’s plan is based on the phenomenon that the premium smartphone market remains sluggish, such as the prolonged flagship model replacement cycle, while the demand for mid-range and low-end phones is growing, particularly in emerging markets. In addition, it seems that Samsung has a willingness to pre-empt the Chinese makers, such as Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, etc., from expanding their positions in the market of mid-range and low-end phones.
Samsung Electronics has loaded the cutting-edge technologies to its mid-range and low-end smartphones like the Galaxy A series and plans to release new products incorporated with such technologies within the year. In the past, Samsung introduced new technologies to premium smartphones and then expanded them to mid-range and low-end products. However, it will now apply the ‘differentiated technologies’ to the midrange and low-end phones.

As the first case of applying the ‘two-track strategy of new technologies’ to its Galaxy smartphones, Samsung Electronics is expected to differentiate its core technologies by preloading the in-display fingerprint sensor to the Galaxy S10, and triple cameras to the Galaxy A (2019) series, respectively.

It is expected that supply expansion and product diversification of the midrange and low-end smartphone will soon move into high gear when Samsung releases the mid-range and low-end smartphones equipped with customized special functions by market.

In addition to modifying its mid-range and low-end phone strategy, Samsung Electronics has also made clear its target customers. President Koh said, “The strategy organization for mid-range and low-end smartphones will have a positive impact on targeting the millennium generation (the generation born in the 1980s to early 2000s).

Samsung’s plan is based on the awareness that it needs to differentiate itself with mid-range and low-end phones for the millennial generation which feels burdened in purchasing flagship smartphones. Samsung’s strategic move is to lead a potential premium audience from a long-term perspective.
Samsung Electronics intends to actively target the emerging markets with high demand, such as China, India, Latin America, Southeast Asia, etc., by increasing the differentiated mid-range and low-end smartphones. Samsung’s plan is to discover and lead new trends and demands.

In this context, Samsung Electronics reveals its determination to continuously compete with Apple in the premium smartphone market, while also competing with Chinese makers in the mid-range and low-end phone market.

CNBC and other foreign media evaluated that Samsung Electronics revised its mid-range and low-end phone strategy in order to cope with the sluggish global smartphone market.

They added that Samsung’s intention was to reorganize the structure with the ‘demand competition’ centered on mid-range and low-end smartphones, while avoiding ‘profit competition’ depending on the premium smartphones.

President Koh suggested that Samsung had prepared for a strategic change long before, saying “We made significant changes in our mobile R&D organization earlier this year before modifying the strategy on mid-range and low-end smartphones.”

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Samsung Elec Pledges $116bn CAPEX in Korea over the Next Three Years

https://korean-electronics.com//inquirySamsung Group’s flagship Samsung Electronics on Wednesday pledged 180 trillion won ($160.7 billion) in capital expenditure – including 130 trillion won in Korea – in its mainstay semiconductor operation as well as new growths of artificial intelligence, automated and connected technologies, and bioengineering over the next three years to help create 700,000 jobs.
The ambitious plan including direct hiring of 40,000 comes as facility investment this year has been in the longest slump in 18 years while job additions are at their worst in a decade to prompt the liberal government known to be hostile toward chaebols to ask for more hiring and investment from the country’s richest and one of the world’s biggest technology companies.
“We have decided to boost new investment and hiring to help revitalize the economy and promote new industries,” the company said in a statement.
Of the total investment, 72 percent or 130 trillion won will be spent in the country, which will have the effect of creating up to 700,000 new jobs.
The spending would amount to 43 trillion won annually, about the same level of Samsung Electronics’ record 43.4 trillion won spending last year – which was the largest-ever annual spending for any publicly trading company in 2017 – after finishing its best-ever year due to the memory chip boom.


The bulk will go to uphold its competitive edge in chips and displays. About 25 trillion won will be spent on new growth areas of artificial intelligence, 5G connection, biopharmaceutical, and automotive electronics.
It will increase payroll by 40,000 over the next three years, nearly doubling from the original plan of 20,000 to 25,000.
The company also pledged to help create a socalled innovative ecosystem by sharing innovative capacity through training opportunities to 10,000 young job seekers over the next five years. It will sponsor 500 venture projects.
Samsung also plans to create a 110 billion won fund with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups over the next five years to help transform manufacturing facilities of 2,500 small and mid-size companies into smart ones and help them advance into other markets at home and abroad. This plan will help create about 15,000 new jobs.

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Samsung SDI and LG Chemicals, Leading Korea’s Global Advance as a Great Power in the ESS Field

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Global ESS Market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 45% through 2025.

Global ESS market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 45% through 2025. As well as the growth rate, the ESS market is anticipated to rapidly grow into a meaningful market for battery makers with a capacity of 17.3GWh and US$4.2 billion in value.
Korea’s ESS market grew from 265MWh in 2016 to 1.2GWh in 2017 with strong policy support, such as strengthening incentives for the ESS-exclusive rate system and weighting five times of REC (Renewable Energy Certification) to ESS linked with renewable energy and, in 2018, will grow almost four-fold to 4.7Gwh. This means Korea will account for almost 50% of the global ESS market.
Korea has the experience of having already contributed to the expansion of the global market even in the ESS market, which replaces the frequency regulation reserve. Korea is expected to contribute to expansion of the global market in the peak-control ESS market or the ESS market linked with renewable energy.
Unlike the forecast of the market research institutes, Korea’s ESS market is expected to grow continuously in 2019 to some extent following the substantial growth in 2018. However, the incentive enhancement of the ESS-exclusive rate system, which is the current growth engine of Korea’s ESS market growth, is scheduled to terminate at the end of 2020. That is to say, even if ESS is installed in 2019, payback can be only on a five-year level, and in case the ESS price drops lower than the current price by 10~15%, it may be reduced to the four-year level. Therefore, sufficient economic feasibility can be secured.
In addition, if you install the ESS linked with renewable energy by 2019, you can receive five times REC weight. As the weight will be reduced four-fold after 2020, the installation demand can increase greatly before the weight goes down. This is because IRR (Internal Rate of Return) will drop by at least 4.0% point if the weight goes down four-fold.
The ESS linked with renewable energy has the highest REC sensitivity. REC price is expected to rise due to change of the REC weight following the recent RPS policy. In other words, it is forecast that the expected profitability of the ESS project will likely become considerably stable and the investment will be able to be boosted accordingly.
The recent growth of the domestic ESS market has been driven mainly by the installation of ESS based on the exclusive rate system. Among them, most of the markets are those where the companies with high electric power demand invest directly in their own funds. However, in the future, it is expected that PEF will be able to contribute to market expansion through investment in the commercial buildings, etc., based on the profitability of ESS so far.
Researcher Lee Hak-mu of Mirae Asset Daewoo Co., Ltd. commented, “The biggest beneficiaries of the faster than expected ESS market growth are Samsung SDI and LG Chem, two leading Korean battery makers.”
This researcher forecasts that Samsung SDI will record KRW1.4 billion in sales of mid- to large-sized batteries for ESS in 2018, growing almost three-fold compared with the previous year. The contribution to sales is about 16%, and the operating profit contribution is 34%. Samsung SDI uses ESS lines mixed with EV lines, making it easy to respond to rapidly growing customer demand and possible to improve profitability by increasing the rate of operation of mid- to large-sized batteries.
LG Chem is also a global top-tier battery maker and has been maintaining good relations with major customers in the United States and Europe, thereby expecting to benefit from the growth of the ESS market in the future.

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Another Speed Battle for ‘Securing the 5G Technology’ in the Wired Communications Equipment Industry

https://korean-electronics.com//inquiryWired communications equipment makers have begun to secure fifth-generation (5G) communications technology. It is a strategy to prepare for advancement of the wired network which will support mobile communications infrastructure such as base stations, etc. It is
expected that they will start tests such as interworking with communications companies as early as the latter half of this year.
Dasan Networks and Ubiquoss Inc. will accelerate the development of 5G wired communications equipment. Dasan Networks plans to commercialize its TSN (Time Sensitive Network) technology. TSN realizes ultra-low latency communications, a core service of 5G, by enhancing the accuracy of packet transmission time. They plan to mount the virtual network functions (VNF) on the switch and router equipment for realizing ultra-high- speed data transmission and 5G service.
Ubiquoss Inc. responds to the 5G communications market by enhancement of its software defined network (SDN) technology, which maximized the network operation efficiency by separating software and hardware. It also started developing the access network backhaul equipment that supports the 5G communications to the subscriber unit.
Considering the characteristics of communications equipment, which is essential for interworking with the communications network, they carry forward equipment development cooperation and network interworking test with mobile communications companies. It is expected that verification of equipment compatibility and performance will begin in earnest from the second half of the year when communications companies will start to invest in 5G communications facilities. As communications equipment is not completed simply with a product development but it has to be linked with communications network to guarantee performance, commercialization of wired communications equipment is expected to be completed in line with facilities investment time of communications companies. As the time for investing in 5G communications equipment is imminent, technological development of wired communications equipment makers is expected to accelerate.
Successive 5G technology developments of wired communications equipment makers should be preceded by advancement of infrastructure for 5G communications at the wired network stage. Construction of 5G communications facilities is concentrated on wireless communications equipment such as base stations and repeaters. However, unless supported by a wired network, 5G services such as ultra-high-speed and ultra-low latency are virtually impossible. This means that it is essential to replace and upgrade the wired network equipment to process large amounts of data quickly.
The differentiation strategy from foreignequipment makers that started the advanced development of 5G wired communications equipment is a problem waiting to be solved. Foreign equipment makers such as Cisco, Nokia, and Huawei have secured a portfolio of 5G wired communications equipment and solutions for several years. As foreign equipment makers have made a massive investment in R&D and manpower, it is generally accepted that their equipment performance is more advanced. Price competition with Chinese telecom equipment makers such as Huawei is inevitable.
An official in the communications equipment industry explains, “Domestic wired communications equipment makers should find ways to survive between the technological prowess of Cisco and Nokia and the price competitiveness of Huawei. They should find ways to differentiate themselves, such as development of 5G equipment optimized for the domestic communications infrastructure market, etc.”

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Super Boom of Multilayer Ceramic Capacitor (MLCC) is Continuing

https://korean-electronics.com//inquirySuper boom of MLCC makes major companies feel happy. Earnings and share prices continue their rising streak. The prospects for future demand are also bright due to price increases continued from last year. The industry expects the MLCC boom will continue at least until 2020.
According to the recent analysis of the securities industry, the operating profit consensus of Samsung Electro-Mechanics is expected be KRW746.3 billion this year, considerably surpassing KRW464 billion of year 2013 which was the biggest of all time. Samsung has already recorded the earnings surprise with its first-quarter sales of KRW2,018.8 billion and operating profit of KRW154 billion, increased by 28.5% and 503.0% respectively, compared with the same period of the previous year. Samsung Electro- Mechanics is No. 2 in the global MLCC market following Murata of Japan.
Samhwa Capacitor Co., Ltd. is also expected to experience its earnings surprise in the first quarter. Last quarter, sales were KRW52.2 billion and operating profit was KRW11.7 billion, increased by 18% and 171.3% respectively, compared with the previous year, thereby being expected to record an all-time high.
Daejoo Electronic Materials, which exclusively supplies the electrode paste for MLCC to Samsung Electro-Mechanics, is expected to recover sales of KRW100 billion this year. Daejoo Electronic Materials exclusively supplies copper paste, a core material used for forming the external electrode of MLCC, to Samsung Electro-Mechanics. This year, they expect sales of KRW30 billion in the MLCC conductive materials business only by adding sales of additives.
Cosmo AM&T Co., Ltd., which produces release films for MLCC, is forecast to renew its record-high earnings this year. As the demand of release film used in MLCC production increases in proportionto MLCC, its market outlook is bright. Cosmo AM&T Co., Ltd. recently expanded the production line for release film, thereby expanding its production capacity from 25 million m2 to 40 million m2 per month. The securities market expects sales of release films of about KRW 100 billion won this year, nearly 50% higher than last year.


MLCC, called “the rice of the electronics industry,” is an essential general-purpose product that allows electronic products to operate normally by storing electricity and then transmitting as much current as necessary. The number of MLCCs in a single smartphone is as many as 800 to 1000. As the era of electric cars and autonomous vehicles opens, the number of MLCCs required in a car is expected to reach 12,000 to 15,000. The unit price of MLCC for electric field is four times as high as that for IT. The upward movement in price continues as demand is rapidly increasing while supply is limited.
Dong-won Kim, a KE Securities researcher, explains, “The recent MLCC industry is very similar to the DRAM market, where oligopoly supply systems and new demand are expanded into the electronics field, resulting in the continuous price rise. The global MLCC market is expected to grow rapidly from KRW8 trillion this year to KRW14 trillion, grown by 75%, in three years.

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Present Status of building smart factories in Korea

https://korean-electronics.com//inquiryAs the government has launched the Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the revitalization of the manufacturing industry is re-emphasized and a strong policy-drive is being implemented to expand the smart factories. However, due to the companies’ lack of motivation to invest and their low technologies, the country does not have advanced world-class smart factories in reality.
In this regard, Min Sung-hee, a senior researcher of the Korea Development Bank (KDB), recently presented the examples of overseas smart factories in the report, “‘The Examples and Implications for Building smart factories,” examining the problem of introducing smart factories to Korea and announcing an improvement plan.
According to this report, overseas smart factories are being advanced to pursue cost-reduction and reflect customer needs. In particular, it progresses with the aim of reducing production costs with decreasing added values, companies focus on expanding productivity through their own factories as well as extending capabilities as a supplier through technological development.
In addition, they are expected to evolve to minimize the costs incurred in the value chain process while reflecting the needs of customers according to the manufacturing paradigm changes, thus affording a direct link between consumers and producers through a platform and the expansion to an on-demand business model.
On the other hand, Min claims that the strategy of building smart factories in Korea tends to be modeled after those of advanced countries, rather than to set its own direction. He emphasizes that there is a limit to the long-term and continuous construction of smart factories due to the investment conditions of domestic companies.
Min explains further, “The advancement of the overseas smart factories is largely attributed to their long-term accumulation of technology and efforts to attain their objects. Likewise, we need to establish clear goals and long-term plans to keep in the same groove. There are difficulties in establishing long-term and sustainable plans for building smart factories due to limited market scale for large enterprises and SMEs’ perceptions of the smart factory construction policies as similar to IT Support Project of Small Business conducted in the past.”
Min also added, “The overseas smart factories utilize highly intelligent machines with a high-level of technology, while the level of foundation techniques regarding smart factories in Korea is low. Despite the need to expand the investment in technical development, Korean companies tend to maintain a conservative stance on investment in technical development, and a large proportion of development expenses depends on self-funding, making it unavoidable to evade risks in the case of investment losses.”
In order to solve these problems, Min suggested, “It is necessary to raise a specific purpose and interest in building smart factories. The government should establish infrastructure and set a detailed mid- to long-term agenda to induce relevant companies into market participation and share it with those participating, while companies should create a friendly atmosphere with continuous interest from the CEO. Additionally, the financial sector needs to provide differentiated support depending on the scale and characteristics of the smart factories.”

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New and Renewable Energy with Cheaper Manufacturing Cost and Less Volatility

https://korean-electronics.com//inquiryAccording to a recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar power generation in 2017 was US$0.10 / kWh, a decrease by 16.7% compared to US$ 0.10 / kWh in the previous year, which is as much as a 75% decrease from US$ 0.36 in 2010.
During the same period, photovoltaic module prices dropped 81% while the cost of the Balance of System (BoS) dropped 73%. Since a stable cost reduction is being achieved within the LCOE range of fossil fuels without any government subsidies, the argument for cost competitiveness seems no longer relevant.
The LCOE of onshore wind also fell 17.6% to US$ 0.06 / kWh, nearing the low end of the fossil fuel’s LCOE range. With the increase of the projects for the commercialization of the concentrating solar power (CSP) and offshore wind, which are gradually increasing their share based on high energy-conversion efficiency, the manufacturing cost has been steadily decreasing.
The conventional base-load power generation is still characterized by high price-volatility of raw materials such as oil and coal, and the increase in radioactive waste disposal costs and environmental costs related to carbon emissions. By comparison, it is therefore expected to contribute increasingly to the establishment of a long-term power policy as a stable and economical power-generation source.
On the other hand, even without additional subsidies from the central government, the profitability of the utilitygrade renewable energy-generation facilities based on the economy of scale and the long-term power purchase contracts remains stable while the market continues to grow.
In particular, as the reference of the utility-scale power-generation facilities increases, the knowledge regarding operation and utilization of decentralized power system accumulates. And the renewable energy-generation facility which has been used only for the existing residential and commercial uses is rapidly increasing for industrial uses lately.
The environment for the distributed power systems remains more favorable than the centralized power generation facilities, e.g., the USA imposing additional protectionist tariffs and China’s policy to continue to provide subsidies to decentralized power systems. Therefore, the production of new and renewable energy generation and energystorage complex facilities for industrial peak power management is expected to rev up rapidly.

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Samsung Galaxy S9 Makes a Single Outing at MWC 2018

https://korean-electronics.com//inquiryThe Samsung Galaxy S9 was unveiled at MWC 2018 held on the Feb. 26-March 1 in Barcelona. In particular, this new Samsung Galaxy S series outshone all others since major smartphone makers such as Huawei, LG, and Xiaomi did not release new smartphones for MWC 2018.
The main features of the Samsung Galaxy S9 include the 5.8” (Galaxy S9) and 6.2” (Galaxy S9 Plus) Infinity curved QHD Super AMOLED display, super speed dual pixel camera (OIS, F1.5 / F2.4) and dual pixel camera (S9 Plus) with a resolution of 12 megapixels, 10-nano AP, and 4GB (S9) / 6GB (S9 plus) of DRAM. The Samsung Galaxy S9 will be mounting three different storages: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB.
Overall hardware specs are not much different from the previous model. Yet, its improved camera functions and enhanced Augmented Reality (AR) functions such as AR Emoji are recognized as impressive. In particular, the camera is equipped with a super-speed dual-pixel image sensor along with a variable aperture capable of switching between F/2.4 and F/1.5, which allows taking brighter pictures in the dark, and dedicated DRAM, thereby providing a super-slow-motion mode that can shoot videos at 960fps (previously at 240fps).
Other features include AR Emoji, an animated emoji created by using one’s selfies that replicates the movements of a user’s face, available via AR shopping provided in collaboration with major brands such as Sephora, and AR live translation to read and translate words from photos.
In addition, intelligent scan that combines facial recognition and iris recognition and Dolby Atmos dual stereo speakers from AKG, a premium audio brand of Harman, are also emerging as successful upgrades on the previous model.
A representative of NH Investment & Securities explained, “Despite its relatively low sales volume forecast, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is expected to be able to bounce unexpectedly. It is because we believe that the competition will weaken due to lack of competition, the return of the replacement cycle of Galaxy S series (in odd numbers) every two years, and Samsung Electronics’ strengthened promotions will be unexpected variables to come.”

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Development of Silver Fiber Flexible Transparent Electrodes

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Overcoming Silver Nanowires’ Limitations and Enabling Flexible OLED Introduction

While OLEDs are emerging as a new display technology, there are many reasons why nanowires used for OLED production have limitations. Accordingly, Korean researchers have developed a technology to overcome this shortcoming.
The National Research Foundation of Korea (Chairman Cho Mu-je) announced that professor Ju Byeong-kwon (Korea University) and Professor Park Yeong-wook (Sun Moon University) of developed flexible transparent electrodes for displays with remarkably improved luminous efficiency by producing silver fibers 100 times longer than silver nanowires.
Silver nanowires feature silver wire network structures with sections whose diameters are in centimeters. While current ITOs are not flexible, silver nanowires are flexible and have excellent conductivity and transparency as ITO electrodes. Due to this fact, silver nanowire is gaining popularity as a promising material for flexible transparent electrodes for next-generation flexible displays and lighting devices.
However, the length of nanowires is limited to several dozen micrometers (µm), which limits improvements in conductivity and transparency in utilizing silver nanowires in OLED displays and surface roughness increase due to line joining, giving rise to a limitation of being electrically unstable.
Using an electrospinning process, the team developed silver fiber electrodes with a length of several centimeters (centimeters) in length and no junctions, ensuring conductivity, transparency and electrical stability.

The electrospinning process is a process by which fibers produced by injecting a polymer solution into an electric field. As the process is simple and can produce a large area of fibers, this process can thus be applied to large OLEDs for display and illumination.
The research team maximized conductivity and transparency by controlling the thickness and density of silver fibers, resulting in 19% higher energy conversion efficiency than OLEDs using ITOs.
“This research is the first case of developing a silver electrode that overcomes the limitations of silver nanowires and introducing them to OLED,” explained Professor Ju Byeong-kwon. “It is expected that the silver fiber will contribute to securing the core technologies in wearable display and lighting market.”
“Silver fiber flexible transparent electrodes can be applied to various optical electronic devices such as LEDs, solar cells, touch screens, and optical sensors in addition to OLEDs. Silver fibers with excellent conductivity and transparency have great potential in various application fields, “Silver fiber electrodes can be produced to have wide areas and have low resistance. Therefore, when a silver electrode is applied to OLED lighting, which is being researched as next-generation lighting, we can solve problems such as high driving voltage and non-luminescence.

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SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics to Lead Boom in Semiconductor Industry Next Year

https://korean-electronics.com//inquiryA paradigm shift to the 4th industrial revolution is fueling investment in big data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of things (IoT). As a result, the semiconductor industry, the most important hardware component in the development of these new technologies, entered an uncharted area this year.

In 2017, the global semiconductor market is expected to grow 21% year-on-year to $408.6 billion. Therefore, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index rose by 43 percent this year, surpassing the 16% growth rate of the S&P 500.

Memory semiconductors are at the center of the company’s record semiconductor growth. The marketsize of the memory semiconductor industry is expected to show record growth this year. Moreover, the memory semiconductor market is expected to run to $123.5 billion this year, which is 61% higher than last year.

The paradigm shift to the Fourth Industrial Revolution will probably be not a game that will end in a year or two. This is because leading companies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent, are expected to steadily expand research and development activities for and investment in data centers, big data, cloud and machine learning.

Only a year ago, AlphaGo knocked humankind for a loop by crushing the best go player, Lee Sedol. However, only one year later, an upgraded AlphaGo won by a landslide (100 to 0) in a go game match with the original AlphaGo.

This means that performances in the fields of big data and machine learning including artificial intelligence in the next two to three years can give rise to gaps among global companies in the next 20-30 years. Slowing investment in big data and artificial intelligence technologies right now can mean giving up on the future.

With Moore’s Law reaching its limitations, the growth of semiconductor supply has significantly slowed down, more than ever before. Moore’s Law that the line width is reduced to a certain level each year and, in other words, bit supply increases as many times as the square of an annually reduced line width. However, as Moore’s Law is practically limited, semiconductor technology is seeking its development in a direction to increase the degree of integration through 3D stacking rather than chip size reduction.

However, increasing the number of layers means that bit supply will stay at a linear increase, which means an increase in accordance with the number of increased layers, not the square of the number of layers. In other words, it should be remembered that the supply growth rate of semiconductors is significantly slowing down compared to the past in 20-nano processes.

 

 

Demand for memory semiconductors became less volatile as price fuctuations declined and supply elasticity dipped as supply grew closer to technical limitations. In conclusion, it is necessary to revise viewpoints on supply and demand cycles of memory semiconductors. If memory semiconductors are understood as a capex-driven industry as was in the past, it can be said that they entered a proportionreduction stage.

However, even if the capex expanded, supply growth is failing to support it and demand is expected to remain stable despite high prices. Accordingly, stable supply and demand situations for memory semiconductors are likely to continue in 2018 against some concerns.

DRAM demand in 2018 is expected to grow to 13.86 billion gigabytes, up 21% year-on-year, despite burdens from rising prices. On the other hand, DRAM supply in 2018 is expected to run to 13.69 billion gigabytes, a 21% increase, despite a surge in CAPEX.

As a result, in 2018, the DRAM supply / demand ratio is expected to remain steady at 0.988, a small increase or a tight level as was the case this year. In 2018, the DRAM market is expected to reach $90.9 billion, up 26% from $ 72.2 billion in 2017.

NAND flash supply hinges on NAND flash makers’ 3D chip yields. However, unlike DRAMs, which have very low price elasticity, demand for NAND flashes is likely to increase significantly if prices fall.

In other words, a change in supply can be a very important variable in changing demand. So, it can be said that it is quite a challenge to forecast demand and supply. However, our forecast for NAND supply/demand is a 37% increase in demand and a 40% increase in supply, which means that supply will increase slightly more than demand.

In 2018, total demand for NAND flashes is expected to reach 235.7 billion gigabytes while total supply remains at 238.2 billion gigabytes. Their ASP per bit is expected to slide about 12 percent next year. In terms of chips, the NAND flash market is expected to grow 23% to $58.1 billion in 2018 from $47.5 billion in 2017.

Accordingly, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which represent the Korean semiconductor industry, are expected to have their banner year in 2018.

This year, Samsung Electronics dethroned Intel, which had enjoyed the No. 1 ranking in global semiconductor sales for 25 years, to become the world’s top semiconductor maker, The securities industry expects its 2018 earnings to reach 280 trillion won in sales, 69 trillion won in operating profit, and 51.7 trillion won in net profit.

SK Hynix’s 2018 earnings are expected to hit 38 trillion won in sales, 18.3 trillion won in operating profit and 14.7 trillion won in net profit. In the global semiconductor industry, its sales and operating profits are expected to stand just below those of Samsung Electronics, Intel and TSMC, but its market capitalization is quite low, standing out of the top 10.

 

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