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Memory spurs global chip revenue growth

Posted: 24 Apr 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:memory? IHS? DRAM? NAND?

The global semiconductor industry saw its revenues shoot up by 5 per cent last year, getting a boost from memory chips, according to IHS Technology.

Total 2013 revenue reached $318.1 billion, up from $303.1 billion in 2012. This increase reversed the unsatisfactory 2.4 per cent loss of 2012, when revenue contracted from $310.6 billion in 2011. The final 2013 numbers confirmed IHS?s initial projections published in December, with the year ending particularly well as fourth-quarter revenue climbed 7.6 per cent from the same period during 2012.

Overall the top 25 chip makers amassed revenue amounting to $225.3 billion71 per cent of total industry takings, up from 69 per cent in 2012. Heading the list was Intel with $47.0 billion, or 15 per cent of the market.

"Memory ICs were the key drivers of growth in the semiconductor industry in 2013," said Dale Ford, VP at IHS Technology. "Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) showed the strongest expansion among major memory segments, with revenue surging by 32.5 per cent as suppliers were able to achieve a balance between supply and demand that yielded lucrative pricing for parts. NAND flash also posted a strong yearat 24.2 per cent growthas demand for the memory from smartphones and tablets continued to rise."

2013 Semiconductor Rankings

Source: IHS Technology

Memory makers come to the fore

Based on the robust performance of the memory market, the major suppliers of memory also jumped up in rankings. Micron Technology had been a prominent performer. Its strong organic growth complemented its acquisition of Elpida Memory, pushing its revenue up 108.5 per cent and propelling it six places towards the fourth spot.

For its part, South Korea's SK Hynix ascended from seventh to fifth on the strength of 42.8 per cent organic growth. Overall, memory suppliers accounted for three of the top five slots in 2013.

Qualcomm of California and Taiwan's MediaTek were the other key performers among the top 25, owing to their market-leading performance in chips for wireless products such as smartphones. Qualcomm maintained the number 3 position with 30.6 per cent growth, while MediaTek rose to number 14 with a 36.1 per cent increase.

NXP Semiconductors, together with Avago Technologies and Xilinx, likewise enjoyed significant success, enjoying growth of 13.7, 9.2 and 4.6 per cent, respectively. Both Avago and Xilinx climbed four places from outside the top 25 into the magic circle.

In contrast to the high flyers, Japanese chip companies struggled the most during 2013. Renesas Electronics, Sony and Rohm Semiconductor saw revenues fall by 13.7, 27.0 and 14.4 per cent, respectively. Renesas dropped four places to number 10, risking losing its coveted top 10 status altogether.

Semi-charmed semiconductors

Also boasting strong growth aside from memory were semiconductors from a wide range of segments. Small-signal field-effect transistors jumped 21.3 per cent; logic application-specific standard products for wireless communications grew 15.3 per cent; and analogue ASSPs also for wireless rose 13.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, automotive logic ASSPs expanded 14.0 per cent, while automotive analogue application specific ICs climbed a more modest but still-healthy 8.1 per cent. Microcontrollers for smart cards and IC cards enjoyed similarly vigorous activity, up 12.5 per cent on the year.

Other notable segments in 2013 were the wireless communications markets, thanks to 13.1 per cent growth; industrial electronics, up 9.4 per cent; and automotive electronics, rising 5.7 per cent.

Asia-Pacific fuels growth

Chip suppliers headquartered in Asia-Pacific saw their combined revenue grow 14.7 per cent, allowing them to capture 25.3 per cent of the chip marketthe largest share ever for the region. For the first time, Asia-Pacific accounted for over a quarter of the worldwide semiconductor market.

For companies headquartered in the Americas, collective revenue also grew strongly, up 8.7 per cent, translating into 52.4 per cent of total industry takings.

Meanwhile, Japan continues to be mired in a slump, with chip revenue for the area declining a steep 17.9 per cent.

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