Fabless chip company Qualcomm’s sales are set to grow by 31 percent cementing its third-place ranking but memory vendors Micron and SK Hynix will expand annual sales by 43 and 71 percent respectively and leap up multiple places in the ranking to take positions four and five (see table).
While memory sales and mobile processor sales helped these companies rise up Gartner’s ranking chip sales at market leader Intel are set to post a 2.2 percent revenue decline. Strong performance in its data center and embedded systems group will not be enough to offset the declining PC market and its limited traction in tablet computers and smartphones. Nonetheless Intel will be the top chip company for the 22nd consecutive year, capturing 15.2 percent of the 2013 semiconductor market, down slightly from its peak of 16.5 percent in 2011, according to Gartner.
Gartner does not include foundry sales of wafers in its chip market ranking to avoid double sales of components. This explains why Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. is not present and also means that Gartner excludes Samsung’s wafer sales to Apple in its assessment of the Korean company.
Estimate of top 10 semiconductor vendors by annual worldwide revenue in 2013 (in dollar millions). Source: Gartner.
"After a weak start to 2013 due to excess inventory, revenue growth strengthened in the second and third quarters before leveling off in the fourth quarter. Memory, in particular DRAM, led this growth, not due to strong demand, but rather weak supply growth," said Andrew Norwood, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement. "In fact, the overall market faced a number of demand headwinds with PC production declining 9 percent and the premium smartphone market showing signs of saturation, with growth tilting toward lower-priced, entry-level and midrange smartphone models. These demand headwinds become very visible when looking at revenue growth outside of memory, where the rest of the semiconductor market could only muster 0.4 percent growth."
Micron Technology saw the biggest revenue growth among the top 25 partly due to rising DRAM and NAND average selling prices and partly due to its midyear acquisition of Elpida Memory Inc.
Gartner reckons Qualcomm and MediaTek have done particularly well in 2013 growing faster than the buoyant smartphone market they play in. MediaTek focused on the low- to mid-tier handsets in China and Qualcomm dominated the high-end with the exception of the Apple iPhone.
On the downside Rohm, Renesas Electronics, Samsung Electronics and Sony look set to underperform expectations by more than 10 percent. The three Japanese vendors were hit hard by the rapid devaluation of Japanese currency. Samsung retained the number two position but its memory performance was not as good as Micron or SK Hynix and the company’s own handset business reduced its reliance on the Exynos processor and baseband processor from Samsung’s semiconductor operation in favor of competitor Qualcomm.
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