SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- Japan's Toshiba Corp. Tuesday denied a media report that it may build a Nand flash chip plant in Singapore, a company spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.
"There are no plans to build a Nand flash plant in Singapore through our joint venture with SanDisk," said Toshiba spokesman Makoto Yasuda.
Late Monday, a television report in Singapore said a joint venture between Toshiba and SanDisk Corp. is choosing between Singapore and Japan for the location for a US$6 billion 55-nanometer Nand flash memory chip foundry.
However, the Toshiba spokesman added that "Toshiba is looking to further expand its Nand flash operations in Japan." He declined to elaborate.
Demand for Nand flash memory chips, widely used in MP3 players, cell phones and digital cameras, has risen sharply recently due to the proliferation of uses for rewritable memory chips.
Citing industry watchers, the Channel NewsAsia report Monday said Japanese Nand manufacturers are seeking to build new foundries away from the earthquake zone.
The report also said the Economic Development Board of Singapore is believed to be in negotiations with Toshiba and SanDisk as part of its quest to attract foreign investments into Singapore.
SanDisk couldn't be immediately reached for comment, while the EDB declined comment.
According to research firm iSuppli, the Nand flash market has been growing rapidly, with revenue rising to US$2.97 billion in the third quarter, up 30% from the prior quarter.
iSuppli expects worldwide sales of Nand chips to reach US$15.4 billion in 2006, compared with US$10.8 billion this year.
Toshiba is the No. 2 player in the fast-growing Nand market, with a 22.8% market share, after market leader Samsung Electronics Co.
Late last month, Toshiba sealed a long-term supply agreement with Apple Computer Inc., the maker of the wildly popular iPod MP3 player. Apple also signed similar deals with South Korea's Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor Inc.
-By Jessica Tan, Dow Jones Newswires; (65) 6415-4155; firstname.lastname@example.org
-Edited by Leslie Shaffer
(END) Dow Jones Newswires "
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