As an important event of OVC EXPO, Summit on Memory and Data Storage Technologies took place at the Intercontinental Hotel on November 13. Dr. Simon Yang, CEO of XMC, delivered a keynote speech themed by “Memory Industry and Its Development Trend” at the conference, presenting the development trend of memory industry and strategic thinking of XMC.
Developing memory technology to compete in the market
IC chips are widely applied to intelligent terminals. Dr. Simon Yang stressed the importance of memory in the whole semiconductor market based on the pricing structure of mobile phone and server. He said that memory accounts for about 20% of the intelligent terminal pricing structure, the second highest after CPU. “Making up one quarter of the entire semiconductor chip market, memory is growing the fastest. Memory chip applications will expand continuously in the next five to ten years, and its market share is expected to hit 1/3 by 2020. ”
Dr. Simon Yang concluded that developing memory will be an “inevitable battle” if we wants to seek rapid breakthroughs in the integrated circuit industry and domestic supply. He compared memory and CPU based on his earlier experience in Intel: “Although developing CPU is technologically achievable, the ecosystem is quite complex and it takes long time to increase production capacity. On the other hand, it is equally difficult to seek technological breakthroughs in the area of memory, but the production capacity would go up quickly if the bottleneck is overcome and product quality is maintained. ”
After this, Dr. Simon Yang introduced in details the two key areas of memory: DRAM and NAND, which constitute more than 90% of the total memory market. They are largely applied to PCs, servers and smart phones. As he pointed out, “DRAM has experienced an increase in market size in recent years, but it slows down in technological advancement and unit number growth; on the contrary, NAND is advancing to 3D from 2D technologically”. Dr. Simon Yang gave a vivid description: “2D NAND looks like a parking lot, and it is harder to find parking space if there are more cars; 3D NAND is like a multi-story deck.” He continued, “In the long run, 3D NAND will be a better option in performance and cost once its yield rises.”
Memory market is dominated by a few international giants in both DRAM and NAND. “There are only 3 to 4 leading memory manufacturers in the world, and that is the general status quo of memory market.”
Combine independent R&D with international cooperation to develop cutting-edge technology
XMC has made thorough evaluation. “Memory is a key component of information technology”, Dr. Simon Yang briefly commented, “so what matters most is the chances for success rather than the necessity.”
Dr. Simon Yang gave three reasons for that. First is the robust domestic demand. More than 55% of market demand comes from China, so domestic enterprises will gain competitive edge if their quality is good enough; second, the government will give financial and policy support to enterprises in the accumulative period; third, good project may attract a lot of talents to come to China. It is this insight that allows XMC to deliver a long-term plan in memory area.
Dr. Simon Yang summed up three basic factors in realizing the vision: find the right people, make the right investment and do the right things. He pointed out that it is a very tough challenge, so it requires some open-minded talents with down-to-earth will to join the team. Second, we used to invest our money in outdated technologies, especially those with successful track records, which was over-conservative and failed to achieve economic benefits efficiently. So he proposed, “We should develop our own technological strength, while being open for international cooperation.” Meanwhile, he stressed that without the support of technological strength, we would be voiceless in negotiation. That’s why XMC chooses 3D NAND FLASH technology. Dr. Simon Yang is confident about the future. He maintained, despite many technological challenges, XMC will surely have a bright prospect due to years of flash experience, small but international team and well-established intellectual property system.
In addition, Dr. Simon Yang hoped XMC would seek joint development with other domestic upstream and downstream enterprises. He expected that XMC would achieve this arduous task together with domestic equipment, materials, design and packaging & testing enterprises, mustering all resources to make breakthrough in China’s memory sector.