Samsung Electronics Co. and Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the world's two largest makers of computer memory chips, raised prices for their biggest customers because of a production shortage.
Hynix increased prices for the chips between 5 percent and 10 percent, said James Kim, head of investor relations at the Ichon, South Korea-based company. Suwon, Korea-based Samsung raised February prices ``significantly,'' Chu Woo Sik, head of investor relations, said today in a telephone interview. Taiwan's Nanya Technology Corp. raised prices about 20 percent.
Samsung and Hynix have been shifting production toward consumer electronics chips, leaving less capacity to fill orders from customers that make personal computers, such as Dell Inc. Spot prices of computer memory chips surged 38 percent this year after tumbling 66 percent in 2005, according to Taiwan-based DrameXchange.com, Asia's biggest market for the chips.
Nanya Technology Corp., Taiwan's second-largest memory chipmaker, raised February contract prices about 20 percent from January, said Amelia Chu, a manager at the company's public relations team.
The shortage may last until the end of the first quarter, Samsung's Chu said. Samsung and Hynix raised prices for February contracts rather than on the spot market, which is for immediate delivery. Dell, Hewlett-Packard Co. and other PC makers buy most of their chips on contract.
Shares of Samsung rose 0.3 percent to close at 706,000 won, and Hynix gained 1.3 percent to 35,450 won in Seoul. In Taiwan, shares of Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. advanced 2.6 percent to NT$21.4 at the 1:30 p.m. close, and Nanya rose 1.8 percent to NT$20. All four stocks fell earlier.
Shares of Infineon rose as much as 2.2 percent to 7.80 euros and traded at 7.78 euros as of 9.29 a.m. in Frankfurt.