Flash Memory Prices Set to Rise Due to Factory Contamination at Western Digital and Kioxia, “At Least” 6.5-Exabyte Loss

Image: Western Digital

Western Digital and Kioxia shared press releases yesterday revealing that they had lost a ton of 3D NAND due to contamination, with the former estimating a loss of “at least” 6.5 exabytes of flash memory. Sources such as TrendForce are now predicting that pricing of flash memory is poised to spike as a result of the dilemma, possibly as high as 10 percent in Q2. Western Digital, nor Kioxia, have clarified how the contamination happened.

NAND Flash Pricing Set to Spike 5-10% in Q2 Due to Material Contamination at WDC and Kioxia, Says TrendForce (TrendForce)

  • Before this incident, TrendForce had forecast that the NAND Flash market will see a slight oversupply the entire year and average price from Q1 to Q2 will face downward pressure.
  • However, the impact of WDC’s material contamination issue is significant and Samsung’s experience during the previous lockdown of Xi’an due to the pandemic has also retarded the magnitude of the NAND Flash price slump.
  • Therefore, the Q1 price drop will diminish to 5~10%. In addition, according to TrendForce, the combined WDC/Kioxia NAND Flash market share in the 3Q21 was as high as 32.5%. The consequences of this latest incident may push the price of NAND Flash in Q2 to spike 5~10%.

Western Digital Comments on Production Status of its Joint Venture Flash Memory Manufacturing Facilities (Business Wire)

  • Western Digital Corp. today announced that contamination of certain material used in its manufacturing processes has occurred and is affecting production operations at both its Yokkaichi and Kitakami joint venture, flash fabrication facilities.
  • Western Digital’s current assessment of the impact is a reduction of its flash availability of at least 6.5 exabytes.
  • The company is working closely with its joint venture partner, Kioxia, to implement necessary measures that will restore the facilities to normal operational status as quickly as possible.

About the operation of Yokkaichi Factory and Kitakami Factory (Kioxia)

  • Since late January, some operations have been affected at our Yokkaichi Plant and Kitakami Plant. It is assumed that the cause is a component containing impurities in a specific production process of the 3D flash memory “BiCS FLASH TM.”
  • Currently, we are working diligently to take measures in this process and aim for early recovery to normal operation.
  • The shipment of 2D NAND flash memory produced by our company is not expected to be affected. We will continue to do our best to reduce the impact on our customers.

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