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Mobiles fuel storage demand boom

Increasing consumer demand for higher technology and more features on mobile devices is driving strong demand for digital storage. The mobile sector is the market leader.

Mobile devices dominate the digital storage market and demand is booming, driven by the surge in features and services such as high-definition photography, 5G mobile technology, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, according to Western Digital Corp, a leading producer.

With the rapid development of such new technologies, consumers have diversifie demands for data covering storage, connection, communications and analysis, especially on the mobile sector, Western Digital's senior vice president and general manager for China, Steven Craig, told reporters in Shanghai yesterday.

The US-based company has set up its regional quarters in Shanghai and will continue developing in the city with an "advanced infrastructure and eco-system", he said.

Each photo on a smartphone worth more than US$200 takes up 10 megabytes or more of space and WeChat, China’s most popular mobile application, now takes about 15 gigabytes on average — 30 times more than several years ago, he said.

Sales of NAND flash, a non-volatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data, are forecast to grow an average 28 percent a year between 2017 and 2021 as consumers upgrade to more powerful and connected models with bigger screens and higher capacities as entertainment and productivity on the go become key priorities, says market tracker Counterpoint Research.

Mobile demand, including data-intensive and high-end mobile devices, leads other sectors such as cars, connected homes and the industrial sector, said Craig, whose company released the industry’s first 96-layer 3D NAND flash drive for mobile devices.

The 96-layer flash offers higher writing speed and lower energy consumption than the previous 64-layer technology and also cuts costs.

In the third quarter, NAND flash prices dropped 10 percent year on year and are expected to continue falling 10-15 percent a year. driven by supply-demand factors, says another research firm, TrendForce.

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