Japan–Mitsubishi Electric Corp. projects that its semiconductors sales will be up about 35% for the fiscal year through March 2001, then expects growth to slow to about 10% for the year through March 2002. Seeing strong demand for its SRAMs and flash memory for cell phones, the company says it plans to add production at a partner flash foundry this year, and to expand its own capacity next year.
Mitsubishi figures the worldwide cell phone market will grow 22%-23% this year and next, to 489 million units in 2001 and 603 million in 2002, fueled especially by the boom in demand for next generation phones for wireless Internet access in Japan. And these phones will need to pack in increasing amounts of memory. Mitsubishi projects its sales of SRAM and flash memory will more than double for the year through 3/01, to reach close to $1.3 billion (Y142 billion), then climb 22% to $1.6 billion (Y173 billion) in the year through 3/02, and jump to $2.5 billion (Y270 billion) by 2005. Mitsubishi claims a leading 31% share of the 32M flash memory market for 2000. It stacks a flash chip and one or two SRAMs into one small multi-chip package for the compact phone market, and aims to be a leader in small packaging.
Separately, Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. of Taiwan says has gotten a $75 million ($NT2.5 billion) loan from a consortium of Taiwan banks to expand its capacity to make memory chips for Mitsubishi in the second half of this year. Mitsubishi also subcontracts to Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp. and Macronix.
By Paula Doe, SST Contributing Editor