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Qualcomm 'stands out' in sluggish chip market

Posted: 06 Dec 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:chip  semiconductor market  wireless  iPhone 5 

Qualcomm Inc. showed a double-digit increase in sales this year that will make it the world's third-largest chip maker in 2012, according to market analyst IHS iSuppli.

In a miserable 2012 semiconductor market that will see revenue decline at seven of the top 10 semiconductor suppliers, Qualcomm is standing out with an impressive 27.2 per cent growth in revenue.

The nearly 30 per cent growth will allow Qualcomm to rise three positions and take third place in the global semiconductor business—the first time it has reached such an elevated rank.

"This year has been terrible for most semiconductor application markets—with the sole exception of the wireless segment, which is expected to generate robust revenue growth this year," said Dale Ford, senior director at IHS. "Consumers are continuing to buy more smartphones and media tablets, even as sales of other once-hot products like PCs and flat-panel TVs decelerate or decline. With its chips at the heart of countless cell phones, including Apple's iPhone 5, Qualcomm has discovered an oasis of growth in the desert that is the semiconductor market in 2012."

Seven companies – AMD, Freescale Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, STMicroelectronics, Elpida Memory and Renesas Electronics—among the Top 20 semiconductor suppliers are expected to suffer double-digit percentage declines in revenue in 2012. Revenue contractions for these companies will range from 11.4 to 17.7 per cent.

After Qualcomm, the next best performance among the Top 20 suppliers is set to be posted by Sony, which will attain 20.1 per cent growth in semiconductor revenue. Sony's performance stands in stark contrast to most other major Japanese semiconductor suppliers, whose revenue will collapse by double-digit rates in 2012.

"Sony's strong results are due to its leading position in the image sensor market, which is expected to grow by 19 per cent in 2012, with the CMOS image sensor sector of the market seeing its revenue expand by 31.8 per cent. Sony's image sensor revenue, which accounts for nearly 60 per cent of its semiconductor takings, is expected to expand by 48 per cent. Even more amazing, its CMOS image sensor revenues are forecast to more than double," Ford said.

MediaTek will jump back into the Top 20 in 2012 after stumbling in 2011. On the strength of its 4.9 per cent growth, MediaTek is projected to make the biggest increase among the Top 20 as it moves up four positions from No. 21 to No. 17.

Rohm will jump into the Top 20 and move up the rankings by three positions to No.19, despite seeing its revenue fall by 3 per cent.

The strong performance delivered by both NXP and Nvidia will enable them to move up two positions in the rankings to No.14 and 15, respectively.

With all the movement among the top suppliers, only one company is likely to drop out of the Top 20. At this point, IHS projects Panasonic will slip to No.21 following a drop in revenue of 13 per cent.

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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