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Semiconductor storage industry in China – the storage inflection point is approaching

It is estimated that the global semiconductor scale will reach 556.6 billion USD in 2023, and memory chips will account for 20%. Memory chip, also known as semiconductor memory, is a memory that uses semiconductor circuits as a storage medium.

The global semiconductor market size in 2021 was 555.89 USD billion, of which the memory chip market was 53.84 USD billion, accounting for 28% of the sales of the semiconductor industry. It is expected to account for 23% and 20% in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

Table of Contents

DRAM and Flash are the mainstream semiconductor memory in the market

DRAM and Flash are the mainstream semiconductor memory in the market
DRAM and Flash are the mainstream semiconductor memory in the market

At present, the mainstream semiconductor memories in the market are DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory), NAND Flash and NOR Flash. DRAM is highly integrated, cheap, has low power consumption, and has slow access speed. It stores data by constantly refreshing the circuit.

In terms of storage capacity, DRAM can provide larger storage capacity and longer access time, but it also has higher power consumption and slower speed due to the continuous refreshing of the circuit.

Flash can be divided into two categories: NOR Flash and NAND Flash. NAND has large capacity and low cost per unit capacity, and NOR has fast reading speed, high reliability, and fast erasing speed. NOR Flash is mainly used for encoding applications, and its functions are more related to calculations. The main application scenarios are in various mobile terminal/vehicle terminal systems, while the main function of NAND Flash is to store data, and it is mostly used in DOC and flash drives used in embedded systems. Compared with NAND Flash, the advantage of NOR Flash is its faster reading speed.

It is estimated that the global semiconductor storage market will reach 111.6 USD billion in 2023, and DRAM and NAND Flash will account for more than 97% of the market in 2021. Affected by sluggish downstream demand, WSTS predicts that the global memory market will reach 111.6 USD billion in 2023, a year-on-year decline of 17%.
In terms of product structure, according to IC Insights data, DRAM sales accounted for about 56% of the entire storage market in 2021, and flash memory was about 43%, of which NAND flash memory covered 41%, NOR flash memory was 2%.

Also read: A complete guide to IGBT – composite semiconductor device of BJT and MOS

Different kinds of seminconductor memory kinds

AI explosion drives surging GPU and HBM demands

“3D stacking + near-storage computing” breaks through memory capacity and bandwidth bottlenecks, and becomes an ideal solution for processing large amounts of data and complex processing requirements.

High Bandwidth Memory (HBM, High Bandwidth Memory) is a new type of high bandwidth, high value-added DRAM product. With the unique TSV signal vertical connection technology, HBM internally stacks several DRAM chips on the buffer chip three-dimensionally, and the number of DDR layers stacked inside can reach 4, 8 or even 12 layers, thus forming a large-capacity, high-bit-width DDR combination array.

Compared with traditional memory technology, HBM provides massively parallel processing capability through 3D stacked multi-layer DDR, provides extremely high memory bandwidth through integrated HBM, and makes data parameters closer to the core computing unit, thereby effectively reducing data handling delays and power consumption.

In terms of system integration, HBM integrates the DDR memory particles and computing chips that were originally on the PCB into SiP to effectively use space and reduce area.

China semiconductor storage industry embraces a large development space

China semiconductor storage industry embraces a large development space
China semiconductor storage industry embraces a large development space

China’s semiconductor consumption accounts for about 53% of the world, but the self-sufficiency rate of the semiconductor industry chain is only 17.5%. According to IBS data, China’s consumption of semiconductors accounted for about 53% of the global total in 2019, and this proportion is expected to increase to about 58% by 2030.

From the consumption structure, Chinese enterprises accounted for about 11.5% of the semiconductors consumed in China in 2006. The consumption area is mainly for personal computers, and the rest is for export; By 2019, the consumption rate of Chinese enterprises increased to 43%. The main fields are smartphones, data centers, and automobiles. It is estimated that in 2030, the proportion of Chinese enterprises’ consumption of semiconductors consumed in China will increase to 69%. However, as of 2020, China’s semiconductor self-sufficiency rate is only 17.5%, and it is expected to increase the ratio to 40% by 2030. There is huge room for domestic substitution.

Also read: Top 20 global semiconductor enterprises in 2022

Strong market demand

With the gradual development of big data, industry data has grown exponentially, and the amount of data generated by machines surpassed that created by humans for the first time in 2018.

Enterprises are increasingly demanding from the storage industry . In 2021, the global big data reserves reached 54ZB, twice the reserves in 2017, and reached 61ZB in 2021. The growth of global big data reserves also reflects the rapid increase in the global information industry’s demand for the storage industry. In 2022, the global big data market is expected to reach 71.8 billion USD.

Chinese manufacturers are speeding up to catch up.

In recent years, domestic memory chip manufacturers have struggled to catch up, and have achieved breakthroughs in some fields, gradually narrowing the gap with foreign original manufacturers.

Among them, GigaDevice ranks among the top three in the NOR Flash market, Juchen shares the third largest market share in the field of EEPROM chips in the world, and YMTC’s 128-layer 3D NAND memory chip directly skips the 96-layer, speeding up to catch up with the advanced technology of foreign manufacturers.

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