Saturday, July 11, 2020

Will Samsung and Hynix Close the Gap with Sony?

SK Hynix publishes an article "Accelerated Multi-Camera Competition in Smartphone Market: Will Mobile-Centric CIS Demand Continue to Grow?" written by Yuak Pak, analyst at KIWOOM Securities. The analyst presents his view on the competition with Sony, among other things:

"For CIS, more demand for 12-inch wafers is being seen as focus shifts from 8-inch wafers. In addition, as the number of pixels increases to more than 40 million, the process started to move from 90nm to 32nm or less.

In particular, the manufacturing process of CIS is very similar to that of DRAMs, and the trench technology of DRAMs is applied to the process of high-pixel products. Therefore, it is highly likely that DRAM manufacturers will have a cost advantage over time.

SK hynix is actually applying DRAM trench process technology to eliminate light interference between pixels, while several experiments are underway to prevent the absorption of photons when using metal partition walls. In addition, ISOCELL of Samsung Electronics has also adopted DRAM process technology and is making efforts to refine their process to a 32nm level.

SK hynix, and Samsung Electronics, two of the world’s leading semiconductor memory manufacturers, are expected to close the technological gap with leading CIS players such as Sony thanks to their superior DRAM technology.

SK hynix is currently operating 8- and 12-inch CIS lines. This year’s capacity of the 12-inch CIS line has increased by more than 60% compared to last year. In addition, since some lines are being redeployed for CIS, actual performance is expected to become more visible from the end of this year.

Samsung Electronics is also expanding the capacity of its 12-inch line in addition to its existing 8-inch CIS line, mainly by utilizing old DRAM lines. Starting with 11 lines in 2018, the company is planning to convert 13 lines into a CIS line in 2020.

The industry’s number one CIS manufacturer Sony continues to increase its 12-inch capacity in Japan, which is expected to intensify the competition for market share from the second half of this year. While Sony has to construct a new line, SK hynix and Samsung Electronics are converting and deploying existing DRAM lines, which would make their products highly competitive at cost, advantaging them in competition to secure market share.

The article is complemented by the CIS market data from KIWOOM Securities:

"As of 2018, the share of demand for CIS by major industries shows the mobile industry dominating at an unbeatable 68% – followed by compute (9%), consumer (8%), security (6%), automotive (5%), and industrial (4%). In the future, this demand is expected to grow mainly within the mobile, automotive, and industrial sectors, while the market’s size – which was valued around USD 13.7 billion in 2018 – is expected to increase to USD 19 billion by 2022.

In addition to this, packaging technology integrating CIS, ISP, and DRAM is now being introduced to ultra-high-speed cameras, which is proving to be a beneficial change for companies producing both DRAMs and CIS in the mid to long term.

1 comment:

  1. Then, how about Micron and Toshiba? Micron doesn't have plans for image sensor business despite of this opportunity. And Toshiba sold their image sensor business to Sony.


All comments are moderated to avoid spam and personal attacks.