Samsung leads NAND flash market in Q3

Users’ appetites for gadgets like digital cameras and iPod music players has sent sales of NAND flash memory chips soaring, along with the fortunes of major producers like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

The South Korean technology titan had more than a 50 percent share of the NAND flash memory market as of the end of the third quarter, according to market researcher iSuppli Corp., a quarter in which it sold US$1.5 billion worth of the chips.

Japan’s Toshiba Corp., one of the major developers of NAND, came in second on iSuppli’s third quarter global rankings with a 22.8 percent share of the NAND flash memory market, iSuppli said.

Although the two companies hold a comfortable lead over everyone else in the sector, rivals are coming on strong, particularly Micron Technology Inc. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc., iSuppli said.

Micron only held 3.4 percent of the global market share in NAND during the third quarter, but its revenue during the three month period increased four-fold over the second quarter. Hynix, which runs a distant third in the NAND race with a 13.2 percent share of the market in the third quarter, increased its revenue during the quarter by nearly 59 percent over the second quarter.

Revenue in the global NAND flash memory market rose to $2.97 billion in the third quarter, up 30.2 percent from $2.28 billion in the second quarter, iSuppli said.

NAND has been a hot product over the past few years because of its use in a slew of consumer electronics products. One of the top sellers has been Apple Computer Inc.’s iPods, which use NAND chips to store songs. Apple said it sold 6.45 million iPods during its most recent quarter, which ended Sept. 24, marking the tenth consecutive quarter of sequential increases in iPod shipments. For the first nine months of this year, Apple sold around 17.91 million iPods.

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