What will change in the NAND landscape?

An article written by Pradeep Chakraborty for Pradeep’s TechPoint – Yole Developpement, France, organized a session on the NAND landscape. It also looked at how Kioxia, and the other leading memory players are doing.


Walt Coon, VP, NAND and Memory Research, Yole Developpement, provided the NAND market overview. The market is dominated by six primary suppliers — Samsung, Kioxia, Western Digital, SK Hynix, Micron and Intel. Samsung leads the market with 33 percent share. All the major players contribute 99 percent of the market.

Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. Ltd or YMTC has now entered the market as the seventh NAND supplier. They are running at 20,000 wafers per month. The company has Fab 1 ramping in Wuhan, supporting up to ~100K wafers per month. Wuhan Fab 2 should ramp in 2022. A third fab is possible, either in Wuhan or Chengdu, ramping in 2023.

The NAND market has experienced tremendous growth over the past two decades. Fundamental demand for NAND is strong, and continues to expand as the technology-driven price declines enable new markets. 2020 was poised to be great year, before Covid-19 struck. There is working and learning from home. Revenue should be down in Q3 and Q4 this year. The industry profitability has remained limited. Intense competition has led to price volatility and periods of losses. Covid-19 will likely push down costs.

Yole had expected revenue to reach $60 billion in 2020, and shipments to grow by 30 percent, before Covid-19 struck. The current outlook sees revenue to reach $55 billion, and shipments to grow 27 percent. In the longer term, we expect the NAND market to expand. NAND will continue to grow into traditional HDD sockets as NAND costs decline. Data generation and storage trends are showing no signs of decline.

Kioxia performance

Now, let’s look at Kioxia’s performance in scale and market share. Toshiba Memory Corp. was renamed to Kioxia in 2019. Kioxia holds 50.1 percent of Flash Ventures, a JV with Western Digital that develops and manufactures NAND memory for both companies. There are manufacturing locations at Kitakami and Yokkaichi, in Japan.

NAND wafer capacity is the highest in the industry. Samsung is the leader, and YMTC is poised to grow in 2020-21. The JV NAND capacity between Kioxia and WD is today the highest in the industry. Kioxia’s NAND revenue generally moved inline with the industry. In the context of the total memory market (including DRAM, NOR, 3D, XPoint), Kioxia’s position is much smaller, at no. 4, with less than 10 percent share.

Looking at the 3D NAND roadmap, Samsung has been the first to get off. Kioxia/WD’s first three 3D NAND generations have been competitive with the other suppliers in terms of performance, memory, density, die size, yields, cost per bit, etc. The JV is expected to introduce the CMOS under array or CuA architecture, and shrink lithography on 160-layer (vs. standard 176-layer), to increase the GB/wager. It will improve its relative competitive position. The 160-layer is presumably to increase the tool re-use… Full article