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S. Korean memory chipmakers see DRAM price rebound in Q1

  Plunging prices of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips, a key component in personal computers, have hit the bottom line and will rebound soon, senior officials from Samsung Electronics Co. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. said Monday.

   The remarks from Kwon Oh-hyun, president of Samsung's semiconductor division, and Kwon Oh-chul, Hynix's chief executive officer, come after DRAM devices for PCs tumbled for the last few months, hitting the bottom lines of chipmakers around the world.

DRAMs are used to run multiple programs simultaneously on PCs.

   "We initially thought that DRAM prices would rebound in the second quarter but I think it can be earlier than that," Samsung's Kwon told reporters on the sidelines of a local forum. "The DRAM industry has reached the bottom now."

   DRAM prices are sensitive to the global economy and demand for personal computers. An overly upbeat estimate of the PC demand earlier in 2010 and the weaker-than-expected growth of the PC industry later in the same year, caused a supply glut, bringing about the sector-wide downturn.

   Hynix's chief also echoed the view that DRAM prices are near the bottom at the moment.

   Samsung, the world's largest computer memory chipmaker and the No. 2 brand in semiconductors after Intel Corp., has earmarked 10.4 trillion won (9.3 billion) as this year's capital investment for the semiconductor business.

   Hyix, which trails Samsung computer memory chips, has set 3.4 trillion won as a capital spending budget on equipment and facilities in a bid to scale up output while its rivals still struggle to make ends meet amid price falls. 

(Yonhap News)

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