iPhone 6, SSDs boost Samsung's NAND flash growth in Q3

The launch of the iPhone 6 and a growing SSD market has significantly boosted Samsung Electronics' NAND flash revenues, a research report has showed.

According to DRAMeXchange, a division of Taiwanese market research firm TrendForce, revenues of NAND flash suppliers — Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron, Toshiba, and others — grew 12.2 percent quarterly, thanks to robust demand for Apple's flagship product and healthy OEM shipments. The average growth of EMMC, eMCP, and SSD during the quarter was higher than the first half of the year, it said.

Samsung, the world largest memory chip maker by revenue, resumed supplying its memory chips to Apple for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus earlier this year, after ties were cut during the peak of the two rivals' court battles over copyright infringement.

The Korean tech giant's chip business posted an operating profit of $2.1 billion for the third quarter, thanks to the continuing favourable market demand for its DRAMs and NAND flashes, unlike its mobile business, which saw a 60 percent drop in profit.

DRAMeXchange said that Samsung's NAND flash shipment volume grew 10 percent during the quarter, and that continued demand for the iPhone 6 will further boost the eMMC and eMCP market.

Embedded products manufactured on next-generation process technology became mainstream in the market in the third quarter, improving vendors' cost structure, said Sean Yang, assistant vice president of DRAMeXchange.

Samsung is also currently investing in all-flash storage companies and launching 3D V-NAND flash for its goods in the enterprise server market. The Korean tech giant's annual growth for this year will be slightly higher than the industry average of 40 to 45 percent as its enterprise SSD business stabilises, the agency said.

Next year, Samsung will increase production capacity of its NAND flashes at its Xian plant in China. The Korean chip giant currently produces triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flashes at its plant in China, and one in Hwaseong, south of Seoul.

It also announced its plan to invest $14.7 billion on a new chip plant in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, that will begin operations in 2017, though what kind of products it will produce has not been decided yet.

A Samsung spokesman declined to comment on the company's supply deals with Apple.