June 13, 2007 – With prices showing signs of firming up and demand on the rise, Toshiba Corp. says it will increase production capacity of mainline flash memory by 70% over the next 12 months, according to the Nikkei daily paper.
The company already planned to bring a third plant at its facility in Mie Prefecture fully online by the end of September, followed by a fourth 300mm plant entering mass production in the following quarter. Now, the paper notes, Toshiba is essentially accelerating its output expansion plans by six months: spending 80 billion yen (US $657.4 million) to build the No. 4 plant, part of its JV with SanDisk, which has capacity of 260,000 wafers/month.
Construction plans for a fifth plant were postponed in January, but improved pricing and demand conditions (Toshiba claims only 70%-80% of customer orders are being met, for things including PCs and Apple’s new iPhone) have convinced the company to go ahead with expansion at existing facilities, the paper notes.
Toshiba currently holds about 30% of the global flash memory market, but hopes to increase that to 40% next year in a bid to overtake Samsung for the top spot, notes the Nikkei paper.