Samsung continued to lead global NAND flash marked through the fourth quarter of 2011 despite a slight slip in quarterly sequential growth.
Even though Samsung has a considerable lead against Toshiba, currently in second place, IHS iSuppli analysts appear to be more interested in the rising competition rumbling in the top five -- particularly with Idaho-based Micron and Hynix in South Korea.
Micron's revenue grew by 11.7 percent between the third and fourth quarters of 2011, while Hynix grew by 5.4 percent during the same time frame. By comparison, Samsung slipped by 4.6 percent while Toshiba dropped by 12.3 percent.
IHS highlighed that Toshiba is doing worst than the rest in terms of sequential decline, but that plummet cannot be attributed to the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in March 2011 because the company had already recovered overall by Q4.
Michael Yang, senior principal analyst for memory and storage at IHS, explained in the report about how these two companies are closing the gap:
Both Micron and Hynix managed to avoid any production issues in the fourth quarter, allowing them to keep their NAND flash production at high levels. This allowed them to keep their average selling prices high. On the other hand, Samsung and Toshiba decided to throttle back production arising from concerns relating to oversupply. We believe that Micron and Hynix will continue to gain share in 2012.
IHS analysts are predicting bigger and better things this year for Hynix, in particular, because the NAND maker is expected to "engage in capital spending at a higher rate than the industry average" soon.
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