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China tablet, cellphone makers doubled their MEMS sensor purchases

Posted: 03 Apr 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS? motion sensors? China-based manufacturers? handsets? tablets?

The IHS MEMS Topical Report has revealed that in 2012, China-based makers of tablets and cellphones increased their share of MEMS motion sensor purchases twofold. This, according to the market research firm, shows the rising importance and influence of these companies in the global market.

Chinese makers as a whole were the third major user last year of motion sensors for cellphones and tablets, accounting for 15 per cent of the market, up from 7 per cent in 2011.

Top MEMS buyers

Top buyers of MEMS motion sensors for handsets and tablets (millions of U.S. dollars)
Source: IHS iSuppli Research, March 2013

"The purchasers fell into two groups: the first typified by big companies such as ZTE, Huawei Technologies, Lenovo and Coolpad; and the second made up of a multitude of smaller players," said Jrmie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst for MEMS & sensors at IHS. "The two groups will evolve in different directions in the years ahead. The larger manufacturers will maintain their growth through 2016, but the boom that smaller players are enjoying at presentdriven by the long-tail growth of smartphonesis a bubble that will not be sustainable. As top-tier suppliers start to optimize their lower-end platforms for this market, the window of growth for smaller players will shrink accordingly, expiring during the next few years."

Chinese firms ZTE and Huawei Technologies were at No. 8 and No. 9 last yearbelow top players Apple and Samsung, Nokia of Finland at No. 3, LG Electronics of South Korea in fourth place, HTC of Taiwan in fifth, Japan's Sony in sixth and Illinois-based Motorola in seventh. However, ZTE and Huawei were ahead of No. 10 BlackBerry, the rebranded Canadian player formerly known as Research in Motion.

Outside of the legitimate Chinese market, the China grey-handset space also had a small presence in the global motion sensor industry given spending of $12.7 million, down from a peak of $41.1 million in 2009. The market here consisted solely of accelerometers supplied by American companies Memsic and Freescale, as well as STMicrolectronics and Bosch. There are no compasses or gyroscopes in this segment.

Apple, Samsung still lead
Apple and Samsung Electronics were the two largest buyers in 2012 of MEMS motion sensors for handsets and tablets with nearly three-fifths control of the total market last year, affording the two giants extraordinary leverage when negotiating prices.

Apple spent $422.4 million for a 31 per cent share, while Samsung's expenditure of $340.8 million gave it a 25 per cent share. The combined share of 56 per cent from the twoequivalent to $763.2 milliondwarfed the rest of the market, which included the underground grey-handset space in China, as well as other smaller buyers from Taiwan and the United States, as shown in the attached table.

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