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Wuhan restarts: World-first flash memory chip released

By Yu Xiaoming | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-04-14 14:13


Yangtze Memory Technologies Co Ltd, a subsidiary under Tsinghua Unigroup, released the latest 128-layer QLC 3D NAND flash memory chip X2-6070 on Monday.

It's the first QLC-based 128-layer 3D NAND flash memory chip in the world, and also the first 128-layer 3D NAND flash memory chip in China, according to a Xinhua report.

QLC or quad-level cell, is a necessary and capital-efficient approach to reduce NAND flash cost, said Gregory Wong, founder and chief analyst of Forward Insights, a market research company in the field of flash memory and solid-state drives.

Due to the characteristics of QLC, such as large capacity, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency for read-intensive applications, it is suitable as a high-capacity storage media, Wong added.

Memory chips, part of the foundation of the whole information and communication technology industry, are widely used in smartphones, computers and servers. Cloud computing and 5G technologies are also based on the development of memory chips.

Presently, a big technological gap exists between domestic manufacturers and foreign counterparts, a researcher told Xinhua.

However, Yangtze Memory Technologies has filled in the gap in 3D NAND flash memory chips. The company expected to start mass production of 128-layer products by the end of this year or the first half of next year. "The 128-layer products should sell well," the researcher added.

Sales of memory chips totaled $120 billion last year in the world, CITICS Securities said, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the $400 billion semiconductor market. Among them, sales of DRAM reached $62 billion, while NAND flash gained $57 billion.

Three DRAM manufacturers from South Korea and the United States hold 95 percent of the market share. Among them, Samsung and SK Hynix account for 75 percent.

Meanwhile, the market share of six NAND flash manufacturers from South Korea, the United States and Japan accounted for 99 percent of the total. Of them, Samsung, SK Hynix and Kioxia secured a total market share of more than 60 percent.

Last year, Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron released the latest 128-layer 3D NAND products, and planned to put them into mass production this year.

As Yangtze Memory Technologies developed its new products, the domestic 128-layer flash chips are set to enter the global market and compete with foreign counterparts in the near future.

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