Currently, the global memory market is monopolized by international giants Samsung, Hynix and Micron. The total memory market share of the three companies together exceeds 90%.
For media reports about Samsung's interview with the Development and Reform Commission, the Securities Times reporter sent an interview letter to the Information Office of the NDRC. NDRC replies only that, in general, such cases generally wait until all matters are identified, there is no conclusion will be announced, and recommended that reporters wait for further information.
Samsung said "temporarily unable to interview" rdquo ;.
Securities Times reporter & middot;
January 11, the world's largest resistance giant Guoda resistor price news spread like wildfire. It is understood that the price adjustment is mainly due to the continuous appreciation of the exchange rate, raw materials and labor costs continued to rise, the price increase of 15% to 20%. In fact, the resistance price increase is only a microcosm of the ups and downs of the memory and passive component prices since last year. Data show that last year's memory (DRAM) prices rose more than 20% quarterly, the passive components of the capacitor is harvested 4 to 5 times the increase.
The end of December last year, the National Development and Reform Commission on the memory price increase incident talks Samsung's news was revealed as the absolute head of memory manufacturers, interviews also raised market concerns about this round of price increases.
The face of the upstream price increases, the cost pressure on the domestic terminal manufacturers increased sharply. Even the news shows that an important terminal manufacturers have been hoping to get Samsung memory through special channels. In this context, the process of localization of memory equally concerned about this reporter also launched an investigation.
Memory supply and demand tight
The latest forecast by the International Semiconductor Industry Association shows that in 2017, the world's semiconductor output will exceed the mark of 400 billion U.S. dollars for the first time. And 2018 will still be a year of optimistic growth. It is estimated that the output value of semiconductors will grow by 4% -8%, and the output value in 2019 is expected to challenge the $ 500 billion mark.
Zhu Jing, director of the Beijing Semiconductor Industry Association Technical Research Department believes that the fundamental reason for last year's memory price hike is the imbalance between supply and demand. The supply side, Samsung, Hynix and Micron three companies had some memory production line has been converted to flash memory, resulting in reduced production capacity. Coupled with the memory process node to move forward slowly, the product yield is not high and other reasons make the supply inadequate.
It is understood that, at present, the global memory market monopoly by several international giants overseas, the three companies in the memory market share of more than 90%. In the technical process, the world's first manufacturer has a large-scale use of 20nm process, and has taken the lead in mass production 18nm process; the world's second-largest manufacturer of 25nm process has been introduced 21nm process; the world's third manufacturer to 30nm process Mainly, 20nm process has entered the stage of yield improvement.
"In the first two years, the memory market saw faster flash memory growth than memory, so it was reasonable for these companies to shrink memory capacity while they were planning for their products, but did not expect the downstream demand to remain strong. "Zhu Jing said to reporters.
According to a 2016 data obtained by Securities Times reporter, mobile phones, servers and PCs accounted for 37%, 26% and 22% respectively of the total downstream demand. In 2017, research institutes expect global handset shipments to grow by 2% last year, to nearly 2 billion. At the same time, mobile phone memory capacity is further upgraded, further expanding memory needs. In addition, in the data center, high-performance computing areas such as AI chips, the demand for memory is also greatly increased.
"The gap in the memory market does exist, and there will be a price rise once the upstream supply can not keep up. Zhu Jing told reporters that although Micron and Hynix memory quality than Samsung, especially in the field of high-performance computing, Samsung's memory has been sought after by the market. However, in the case of out of stock, all memory makers will be together price increases, follow-up business and the gap between the leading business is not.
It is reported that industry sources pointed out that the memory agents based on channel advantages, through the original row orders get their goods, the price will fluctuate with the original factory and market conditions vary; out of stock market, small quantities, the ladder up. Similarly, because many traders get the news from the original factory, including the original inventory, order scheduling, shipping conditions, etc., once received the exact message, these traders began wanton hoarding.
In the memory of the upstream and downstream chains, the above analysis of the middle channel as the main round of memory price increases. However, an analyst who is unwilling to be more inclined to think that memory price transmission and distribution, the agency is not much. "Channels, agents hoarding other components, such as the existence of agents on the capacitor store goods, the original factory also followed the phenomenon of roasted seeds and nuts, but this has nothing to do with the memory. & rdquo;
In fact, this is also due to Samsung's memory is mainly direct sales, take the channel and agency path is not much. However, for capacitors and other components, the original influence on the price and the control power than the channel business, but also more dependent on the middle of the goods through the channel.
Downstream manufacturers affected
In response to rising memory prices on the impact of end product costs and gross profit, the reporter asked a number of manufacturers. But for the supply chain problem, most manufacturers do not want to do too much response. However, there is also a terminal manufacturer told reporters that the company's terminal products recently no price adjustment, which credit to the company's supply chain departments to the cost pressure down.
In fact, in the last year, most mobile phone brands have been price adjustment. Charm Blue, for example, announced last year, due to the impact of rising prices of components and other products, Charm Blue Note5 BOM cost has exceeded the original definition of the product range, and cost pressures and market premium and other factors, some models Charm Blue Note5 prices have been raised.
In Zhu Jing's opinion, memory is a key component of mobile phones. As mobile phones become smarter and more memory is used, the rise in memory prices will inevitably lead to an increase in the cost of handsets. However, mobile phone manufacturers are afraid to raise prices easily. "The competition among mobile phone brands has been very fierce. A slight price increase on models equipped with the same models may lead to the loss of consumers. The end result is the squeeze on the profits of ODMs and brands. & rdquo;
In fact, including mobile phone manufacturers, SoC (system-on-chip) overall program end-users are subject to the impact of rising memory prices are very large. It is understood that the memory of the original memory supply to the lower reaches of the market price is basically the market, out of stock bring the memory price increases, but even more troubles to the downstream manufacturers even if the fare increase also can not get the goods.
In the oligopolistic memory market structure, the downstream manufacturers voice is not large. According to media reports, even Apple, which has strong industry chain integration capabilities, must agree with Samsung's price hikes in storage. However, last year's surge in prices caused them to pocketed profits from the memory factory that stood at the top of the industry chain.
From January to September last year, Samsung's semiconductor business revenue was 53.15 trillion won (about 49.2 billion US dollars), an increase of 46%. Intel's semiconductor revenue for the same period was 45.7 billion US dollars, an increase of only 6%. According to industry estimates, Samsung's semiconductor revenue in 2017 will surpass Intel, Intel has occupied the semiconductor revenue first place for 25 years.
The soaring memory market demand is boosting further price increases, followed by the biggest giants hit a record high. However, Samsung's semiconductor business is also facing uncertainty. What needs to be noticed is that Micron and Hynix may take the lead in price reduction once production capacity increases or downstream demand is less intense, which may result in some Samsung customers switching to other manufacturers .
When talking about the memory market this year, Zhu Jing predicted that in the first half of 2018, the memory supply will remain tight and the price will continue to rise. At least until the balance of supply and demand in the second half of the year, the price will probably go down. "This year memory will be out of stock depends on two factors: First, expansion of suppliers, such as Samsung has just decided to expand the memory line, but the real production may be 2019; second is the product yield, because the yield is not high It is also an important factor in stockouts last year. & rdquo;
Whether it constitutes a monopoly to be investigated
For media reports about Samsung's appointment by the NDRC, the Securities Times reporter sent an interview letter to the Information Office of the NDRC in hopes of confirming the interview and the details of the interview as well as the current investigation progress. However, the NDRC said in reply only that, in general, such cases generally wait until all matters are clarified, and there is a definite conclusion before they are released to the public and it is recommended that reporters wait for further information.
At the same time, the Securities Times reporter sent an outline to Samsung. However, Samsung has always been tight-lipped, said "temporarily unable to interview" r.
The anonymous analysts told the Securities Times reporter, because Samsung accounted for more than 40% of global memory capacity, the NDRC now suspect that Samsung has some control over the memory capacity. "If Samsung says that its memory out of stock, the outside world can not know if Samsung is out of stock or fake out of stock. Because it may deliberately slow down the growth rate of production capacity, making it easier for the profits to rise in the process of price increases. After all, the monopolistic effect of the three vendors in the memory market is too concentrated. & rdquo;
This also confirms the aforementioned logic, that is, only when the memory capacity is loose, will the price cut become the game choice of the three vendors, and in the case of out-of-stock, there is no game among the three, and it is only in the interests of the price rise maximize.
The person believes that the memory prices continued to rise after the formation of the situation, Samsung announced the expansion, and did not show any malicious acts such as stockpiling. Therefore, Samsung in the process of price increases there is no final conclusion of illegal behavior, pending further review of the NDRC.
From the point of view of the Anti-monopoly Law, an operator can presumably have a dominant market position when its market share in the relevant market reaches one-half, and the Anti-Monopoly Law forbids operators with market dominance Abuses of market dominance, including without proper justification, refusals to deal with counterparties in the transaction, and without justifiable reasons, limit the number of counterparties to whom the counterparty can only deal or only with the operator to which it is designated.
Wang Yanhui, secretary-general of China's mobile phone Alliance, said earlier that it is still too early to predict what kind of further measures Development and Reform Commission will take on Samsung. However, if Samsung is found to be involved in price manipulation, the NDRC may refer to penalties imposed by other countries in this regard.
In an interview with reporters, the industry generally agreed that the NDRC's memory of the Samsung memory prices can refer to the previous Development and Reform Commission's investigation of the Qualcomm case.
In February 2015, Qualcomm Inc. tentatively put an end to an antitrust investigation that lasted one year in China's handset chip market. According to the announcement of penalties announced by the NDRC, Qualcomm was fined 975 million U.S. dollars (about 6.1 billion yuan) for violating antitrust laws in China. Qualcomm also needed to make a number of adjustments to the licensing of its smartphones in the Chinese market. This case set the highest antitrust monopoly in China.
The above anonymous analysts believe that although the punishment for Qualcomm can be used as a reference, but due to Qualcomm case involving baseband chips in China already have localization capabilities, Spreadtrum, Hass and other manufacturers have been able to ship, so Qualcomm is a penalty without Too much risk of things. However, at present, the localization capability of the memory is not available yet. If the improper disposal by regulators causes Samsung to cut off storage for the big Chinese enterprises, things will become more complicated.
It is not uncommon for a similar case of waving a product stick with its own advantages. HTC was released by the first Android phone based on the follow-up of several products and user recognition, laid the Android mobile phone boss status; However, at the peak HTC plans to release the new machine, but because of Samsung's screen off, Delay for a long time before release, Samsung is to make their own new aircraft of the same type first step to market.
"When punishing Qualcomm, Spreadtrum and Hisilicon products have done very well, so the penalty was actually good for domestic manufacturers, but also help to promote localization. However, regulators can give Samsung a sense of deterrence when domestic memory does not have any alternative capabilities. If it is heavy penalties, at the time of punishment, we should think about it again and the punishment mechanism needs to be more flexible. "The anonymous analyst said.