SEOUL, Nov. 26 (Yonhap) — Samsung Electronics Co. maintained its top spot in the global NAND flash market in the third quarter of the year on the back of increased revenue, a report showed Thursday.

The South Korean tech giant, also the leader in the DRAM sector, had a 33.1 percent share of the global NAND flash market in terms of revenue in the July-September period, up 1.7 percentage points from a quarter earlier, according to market tracker TrendForce.

Samsung’s revenue from NAND flash products came to a total of US$4.8 billion in the third quarter of 2020, also up 5.9 percent from a quarter earlier, thanks to rush orders from China’s Huawei Technologies Co. and demand related to the release of Apple Inc.’s iPhone 12.

“Samsung’s average selling price (ASP) fell by nearly 10 percent quarter-on-quarter for the third quarter of 2020 as the overall demand was adversely affected by the inventory reduction efforts that were taking place in the server segment,” TrendForce said. “However, its bit shipments significantly exceeded expectations for the same period and offset the price decline.”

TrendForce estimated that Samsung saw an almost 20 percent quarter-on-quarter increase in its NAND flash bit shipments for the third quarter.

Japan’s Kioxia Corp. was the runner-up with a 21.4 percent market share, up 4.2 percentage points from a quarter earlier, as its revenue soared 24.6 percent quarter-on-quarter to $3.1 billion.

U.S. chipmaker Western Digital Corp. came in third with a 14.3 percent market share, down 1.2 percentage points from a quarter earlier, after its revenue dropped 7.1 percent quarter-on-quarter to $2.07 billion.

South Korean chipmaker SK hynix Inc. ranked fourth with a 11.3 percent market share, down from an 11.7 percent share a quarter earlier. Its NAND flash revenue in the third quarter reached $1.64 billion, down 3.1 percent from three months earlier.

“SK hynix gives more weight to mobile solutions in its NAND flash product mix, so its bit shipments for the third quarter of 2020 grew by about 9 percent quarter-on-quarter on the back of the new iPhone devices, new game consoles and Huawei’s procurement activities,” TrendForce said. “However, SK hynix was also affected by the inventory reduction efforts in the server segment.”

TrendForce added the solid state drives (SSDs) in SK hynix’s NAND flash product shipments fell under 45 percent in the third quarter, and its ASP also dropped by around 10 percent quarter-on-quarter.

Micron Technology Inc. and Intel Corp. came fourth and fifth in the NAND flash market with market shares of 10.5 percent and 7.9 percent in the third quarter, respectively.

Intel, which agreed to sell its NAND flash business unit to SK hynix for $9 billion, saw its revenue plunge 30.5 percent quarter-on-quarter to $1.1 billion due to server companies’ inventory adjustment.

In the third quarter, Intel saw its bit shipment decline almost 25 percent from the previous three months, while suffering an around 10 percent drop in its ASP, according to TrendForce.

Overall, the global NAND flash industry saw its revenue reach $14.5 billion in the third quarter, an only 0.3 percent increase from a quarter earlier, as companies in server and data center segments scaled back their procurement over excess inventory.

In the third quarter, total NAND flash bit shipment rose by 9 percent from the previous quarter, but the ASP also fell by 9 percent.

TrendForce expected the NAND flash industry to see decreased revenue in the fourth quarter with the oversupply situation.

“Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, customers in the server segment will continue with their inventory reduction efforts,” it said. “Hence, the overall demand will still be rather sluggish.”