HiSilicon sells most of its devices as internal transfers to its parent Huawei while Unigroup is the holding company that includes the IC sales of both Spreadtrum and RDA Microelectronics. Fabless company IC sales are estimated to have exceeded $100 billion in 2017.

Top ten fabless/system IC companies by 2017 sales ($M). Source: IC Insights.

Fabless companies have generally done better than their IDM cousins but in years when memory sales have boomed, such as 2017, the fact that few fabless semiconductor suppliers participate in the memory market means their group underperforms the market.

In 2017, the market behaved very similarly to 2010, when strong growth in the memory market propelled the IDM IC sales growth rate higher than the fabless IC supplier growth rate. With the total memory market surging by 58 percent last year, IDM IC sales growth easily outpaced fabless company IC sales growth in 2017.

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