European share of fabless chip market halves to 1%

European share of fabless chip market halves to 1%

Market news |
By Peter Clarke

Fabless IC suppliers sold $90.4 billion of chips in 2016 or 30 percent of the world’s IC sales (up from only 18% ten years earlier in 2006). 

Europe’s collapse from 2 percent of the market in 2015 and 4 percent in 2010 is due to the sell-off of various European companies and business units. UK-based CSR, the second largest European fabless IC supplier was acquired by U.S.-based Qualcomm in 1Q15 and Germany-based Lantiq, the third largest European fabless IC supplier, went to U.S.-based Intel in 2Q15.

2016 fabless chip company sales by headquarters locations. Source: IC Insights.

Dialog Semiconductors plc with $1.2 billion in sales in 2016 is now the only Europe-headquartered fabless IC supplier in the fabless top 50-company ranking. Norway-based Nordic Semiconductor just missed making the top 50 ranking with 2016 sales of $198 million.

Next: US lost more share

However, the US also lost significant market share – from 62 percent in 2015 to 53 percent in 2016. This was due to the acquisition of US-based Broadcom by Singapore-based Avago, which then changed its name to Broadcom. Although the newly named Broadcom has fabrication facilities that produce III-V discrete devices, it does not possess its own IC fabrication facilities and is considered by IC Insights to be a fabless IC supplier.

There is only one significant Japanese fabless chip company – Megachips – which saw its sales increase by 20 percent in 2016; one major South Korean fabless IC company (Silicon Works), and one major Singapore-based (Broadcom Ltd.) fabless supplier.

Chinese firms joining the ranks of top 50 fabless. Source: IC Insights.

Chinese market share rose with the market in 2016 so that its fabless chip vendors still represent 10 percent of the market, as they did in 2015. However, when excluding the internal transfers of HiSilicon (over 90 percent of its sales go to its parent company Huawei), ZTE and Datang, the Chinese share of the fabless market drops to about 6 percent, IC Insights said.

But it is notable that as recently as 2009 China had one company in the top-50 fabless IC supplier ranking as compared to 11 in 2016.   

Related links and articles:

News articles:

China steps up fabless game

China bigger than Europe plus Japan in fabless chip market

Qualcomm falters at top of fabless ranking

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