Samsung Electronics maintains first place in Q1 memory chip industry despite downturn


SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) — Despite a decline in earnings due to a chip oversupply, Samsung Electronics Co. held onto its number one spot in the worldwide memory chip market in the first quarter, according to a report released Sunday.

SK hynix Inc., on the other hand, dropped from second to third place due to its reduction in output before Samsung, according to market tracker Omdia.

Samsung Electronics held a 42.8 percent market share in the DRAM market, the same as the previous quarter.

Samsung’s DRAM revenue totaled $4.01 billion in the January-March period, a 61.2 percent decrease from the year before. Compared to the quarter before, the revenue decreased 25.2 percent.

SK hynix’s DRAM market share was 24.7 percent, a 2.3 percent decrease from the previous quarter.

SK hynix’s main source of income, memory chips, resulted in an operating loss of $2.5 billion in the three-month period, a change from a year earlier.

An industry source commented that SK hynix’s production was cut back due to decreasing DRAM prices in the first quarter, leading to a decrease in shipments and a temporary drop in market share.

Samsung Electronics also kept the lead in the NAND flash market, with a 34.3 percent market share, a 0.4 percent increase despite a sharp decline in quarterly revenue.

Its NAND flash revenue was cut in half to $2.99 billion compared to $6.33 billion the year before.

SK hynix was pushed to fourth place in the first-quarter NAND flash market, down from third place three months earlier, with 16.8 percent.

Analysts are increasingly believing that the two tech giants are nearing a turning point, citing second-quarter losses that have decreased from the previous quarter.

Samsung’s Device Solutions unit, which handles semiconductors, reported a 4.36 trillion won ($3.33 billion) operating loss for the April-June period, a decrease from 4.58 trillion won from the previous quarter.

SK hynix posted a 2.88 trillion won operating loss in the second quarter, compared to the 3.4 trillion won operating loss in the first quarter.

Samsung and SK hynix said in their recent earnings calls that they plan to focus on advanced high-bandwidth memory (HBM) and double data rate 5 (DDR5) memory chips that are in higher demand.

The DDR5 is the next-generation of PC main memory with higher speed and bigger memory.

An HBM chip is suitable for high-performance computing systems, such as artificial intelligence-driven data analytics and state-of-the-art graphics systems.

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