Electronic Design

Hynix Rides MP3 Demand, Climbs CE Chip Rankings

While most consumer-electronic chip suppliers experienced static market conditions, Hynix Semiconductor posted a standout performance in 2006. Its success hinged on a surging demand for Portable Media Players (PMP)/MP3 players, which drove its sales of NAND-type flash memory, according to a report from iSuppli. The South Korean company displaced Renesas Technology Corp. of Japan to take fifth place in iSuppli's ranking of consumer-electronic chip suppliers. "Hynix's performance was particularly notable given the relative stability of the overall rankings in 2006," Chris Crotty, senior analyst for consumer electronics at iSuppli, said in a statement. "The Top-10 ranked suppliers for total consumer-electronics semiconductors remained the same from 2005 to 2006, despite some shifts in positions compared to 2005." Total PMP/MP3 unit shipments surged to nearly 180 million in 2006, up about 40 percent from 130 million in 2005. Hynix expanded its PMP/MP3 revenues to $831 million in 2006 from $582 million in 2005. The increase beat out that of Samsung and Toshiba, two other key suppliers to the PMP/MP3 market, according to iSuppli. Large manufacturers continued to dominate the $53 billion consumer electronics semiconductor market, with Toshiba, Sony, Samsung and Matsushita being the top contenders. U.S.-based nVidia Corp. ranked first in PMP/MP3 controller chips, with revenues of $173 million, but China's Actions Semiconductor shipped the most controller units—about 75 million. Set-Top Box (STB) ICs are also a hot market, with shipments expected to grow 11.5 percent annually to reach about 200 million by 2011, according to iSuppli. Broadcom and STMicroelectronics have dominated the STB video-processing ICs market, but factors like High Definition (HD) penetration, Digital Video Recorder (DVR) deployment, MPEG-4 class decoding, regional satellite growth and Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) development are spurring opportunities for other suppliers. DVD controller chip suppliers are riding several shifts in the market, like the transition from players to recorders as well as the switch from red lasers to next-generation blue lasers, which are used in HD-DVD and Blu-ray. Sigma Designs posted industry-leading growth in the DVD semiconductor market, according to iSuppli. In the Digital Still Camera (DSC) market, Zoran led market share and revenue growth for image processors this year. Known for its Camera-On-A-CHip (COACH) line of image processors, Zoran's DSC revenue grew to $149 million from $107 million in 2005. Zoran, Texas Instruments, and Sunplus benefited from the continuing shift toward outsourced assembly, which accounted for more than 50 percent of DSC shipments in 2006.

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