Most technology enthusiast and consumer end users might not know it, but flash memory maker SanDisk is present in almost things that hold data. The company is arguably one of the biggest when it comes to manufacturing and market share of flash memory products, and their products (first-party or rebranded), can be found in most handsets, digital cameras and tablets.
The company is doing incredibly well in terms of revenue and market share, selling about 35 000 units in South Africa a month. So with that in mind, we have rounded up a couple of interesting facts about Californian-based SanDisk:
* The company was founded in 1988 by Dr. Eli Harari and Sanjay Mehrotra, non-volatile memory technology experts, and became a publicly traded company on NASDAQ in November 1995.
* SanDisk has more than 240 000 store fronts across the world, with offices or manufacturing facilities in 10 locations in Asia (including Taiwan, China and Japan), six locations in Europe (including the UK, Ireland and Spain), and three locations in Israel (Kfar Sava, Tefen and Omer).
* SanDisk currently holds more than 2100 patents, more than 1100 foreign patents and more than 1100 patent applications pending in the U.S. Every company that uses one of their patents needs to pay royalties to SanDisk, and nearly every handset vendor has embedded SanDisk technology.
* SanDisk has the rights to manufacture and sell every major flash memory card format, including CompactFlash, SD, SDHC, microSD, microSDHC, Memory Stick PRO and related Memory Stick products and USB flash drives.
* Their revenue is currently sitting at US$ 4.82 billion, with a total profit of US$ 1.30 billion for 2010. Their total equity is estimated to be around US$ 5.78 billion.
* SanDisk designs, develops, manufactures and markets their own products, and doesn’t make use of any third-party parts or equipment. However, SanDisk licenses its technology to a number of other industry-leading companies.
* One of the manufacturing plants in Shanghai, China is about the size of five football fields, and since it needs to be sterile environment, only around 400 employees actually work there. Making use of robots and automated machines, the factory has the capacity to push out around a million units a day.
* According to Peta Pixel, a third of the SanDisk memory cards on the international market are actually fake. The brand has become so popular that counterfeiters target SanDisk in their illegal activities.
* Although they have nothing to do with Apple, SanDisk actually benefits from the success of the iPod and iPad, as it drives up the market price for flash memory.
* SanDisk has been operating in South Africa for the last 10 years, and is currently breaking into the Nigerian and Kenyan markets. They are currently selling about 35 000 flash memory units a month.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor