The three companies are: Yangtze Memory Technology Co. Ltd. (YMTC) which is also known as Yangtze River Storage Technology (YRST), Hefei Chang Xin (Innotron Memory) and Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. (JHICC).
YMTC, backed by Tsinghua Unigroup, is getting ready to enter the market with 3D-NAND flash (see China’s Unigroup plans to spend $60 billion, says report) while Innotron and JHICC are preparing mobile DRAM and specialty DRAM respectively. All three companies have arranged trial production to begin in 2H18 and mass production to begin in 1H19. This will make 2019 the first year of China’s domestic memory chip production.
Innotron completed construction of its wafer fab in June 2017 with installation of equipment in 3Q17, TrendForce reports. And now both Innotron and JHICC have delayed trial production to 3Q18 with mass production due in 1H19, falling behind their announced schedule.
Innotron has chosen an LPDDR4 interface 8Gbit DRAM as its first product, which will put it in direct competition with established DRAM suppliers. This could put it a risk of law suits for patent infringement and to reduce that risk may decide to sell only in the Chinese market, TrendForce said.
Next: 550,000 wafer starts per month
YMTC’s first wafer fab – of three – was completed in September 2017 and the plant is set to produce 32-layer MLC NAND flash in 3Q18 although wafer starts are not expected to exceed 10,000 per month. The construction of the second- and third-phase plants will await the completion of a 64-layer design.
Together, JHICC and Innotron’s total production capacity is forecast to reach 250,000 wafers per month by about 2020 or 2021 and at that time they will have started to have some impact on the global DRAM market. YMTC’s three-phase fab construction plan could have a total capacity of 300,000 wafers per month and could have a large effect on the market supply of NAND Flash in the next three to five years.
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