NOR flash prices to rise through end-2017, says Macronix president


Josephine Lien, Taipei; Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES [Wednesday 15 February 2017]

NOR flash memory prices are set to grow 5-10% in the first quarter of 2017, and will likely rise through the end of the year, according to Macronix International president CY Lu.

The price rally has been driven by higher demand coupled with stagnant supply, said Lu, adding that there is no reason to worry prices will fall in 2017. The supply of NOR flash chips has already been tight since the fourth quarter of 2016, Lu noted.

Upstream wafer foundries have no plans to build additional production capacity for NOR flash chips, Lu indicated. Meanwhile, many contract chipmakers in China have seen their production lines filled by logic ICs leaving little room for the manufacture of NOR flash memory, Lu said.

In addition, major memory vendors have put increased focus on the more-profitable areas allocating more of their available capacity for the manufacture of NAND flash and DRAM, Lu said.

Macronix' 12-inch fab is running at full capacity, Lu disclosed. The facility consists of three product lines engaged in the manufacture of 75nm and 55nm NOR flash chips, 36nm SLC NAND flash chips, and 45nm and 32nm ROM products.

Macronix plans to expand its 12-inch fab production capacity by building an additional 2,000-4,000 12-inch wafers monthly, according to Lu. The company has budgeted NT$2.35 billion (US$76.5 million) in capex for 2017.