The semiconductor industry is enjoying an extraordinary boom time. The operating profit-to-sales ratio of Samsung Electronics' memory chip business broke the 50-percent level in the first quarter of this year, while SK Hynix' ratio in its DRAM business is also expected to surpass the 50-percent level in the second quarter.
On the back of strong demand, the share prices of these companies also rose sharply. Some analysts, however, voice worries, saying, "Semiconductor demand could slow down from the second half of this year."
Let's take a look at the variables that could have an impact on the global memory chip market in the second half of this year.
The prices of DRAMs (DDR4 4-gigabyte) which stood at around US$1.50 in June 2016, showed an upward trend until early this year. Thereafter, however, the prices have been hovering at about $3.40 per unit.
The demand from Chinese smartphone makers, which played a key role in boosting memory chip prices, is somewhat slowing, while personal computer makers, the end users of DRAMs, are stepping up price resistance.
According to a market research firm, the growth of mobile DRAM demand is expected to fall to about 30 percent this year from 41 percent last year.
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