SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) — Samsung Electronics Co. suffered a slight drop in its presence in the global DRAM market in the third quarter of the year, but maintained its top position, a report showed Thursday.

The South Korean tech giant, also the leader in the NAND flash sector, had a 41.3 percent share of the global DRAM market in terms of revenue in the July-September period, down 2.2 percentage points from a quarter ago, according to market tracker TrendForce.

Samsung’s revenue from DRAM chips came to a total of US$7.21 billion in the third quarter of 2020, down 3.1 percent from a quarter earlier, the market tracker said.

SK hynix Inc., Samsung’s smaller domestic rival, stayed in the second spot with a 28.2 percent share, down 1.9 percentage points from a quarter earlier, after its revenue dropped 4.4 percent quarter-on-quarter to $4.92 billion.

“Samsung’s and SK hynix’s quarterly revenues registered a decline because the increases in their respective shipments were marginal and insufficient to compensate for the declines in their respective average selling prices (ASPs),” TrendForce said.

U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. was the No. 3 player. Its market share jumped to 25 percent in the third quarter, up 4 percentage points from a quarter earlier, after its revenue soared 21.9 percent quarter-on-quarter to $4.3 billion.

“Micron experienced a smaller drop in the ASP for its latest fiscal quarter,” TrendForce said. “Furthermore, Micron also benefitted from the substantial increase in bit shipments and the corresponding reduction in the fixed cost per bit.”

When it comes to profitability in the third quarter, TrendForce said DRAM suppliers in general were hit by the price decline in the sector with server manufacturers’ weak procurement of chips due to excess inventory.

Samsung managed to keep its operating margin at 41 percent in the third quarter due to its cost optimization efforts, according to TrendForce. However, SK hynix saw its operating margin falling to 29 percent, down 6 percentage points from a year earlier as server DRAM makes up a substantial share of its product mix, the market researcher said.

Global DRAM revenue increased by only 2 percent quarter-on-quarter to $17.46 billion in the third quarter. TrendForce expected the DRAM market in the fourth quarter to be similar to the third quarter.

“The persistent weakness of the server DRAM segment will continue to exert downward pressure on the overall ASP of DRAM products,” it said. “As such, the fourth quarter of 2020 will again see rising bit shipments and falling prices.”

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