Global chip revenue rises in 2013

April 23, 2014. Worldwide semiconductor revenue rose a solid 5.0% last year, with memory chips the star performers, according to the latest research from IHS Technology.

Total semiconductor revenue in 2013 reached $318.1 billion, up from $303.1 billion in 2012. Last year’s growth effectively reversed the disappointing 2.4% loss of 2012, when revenue contracted from $310.6 billion in 2011. The final 2013 numbers confirmed initial projections by IHS published in December, and the year ended particularly well as fourth-quarter revenue climbed 7.6% from the same period during 2012.

Overall the top 25 chip makers amassed revenue amounting to $225.3 billion—71% of total industry takings, up from 69% in 2012, as shown in the attached table. Heading the list this year was Intel with $47.0 billion, or 15% of the market.

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

These findings are contained in the report, “DRAM and NAND in Wireless Propel Global Semiconductor Growth in 2013,” from the IHS Semiconductors and Components service.

Semi-charmed semiconductors

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

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

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

Memory makers head to the fore

Based on the robust performance of the memory market, the major suppliers of memory also jumped up in rankings. For Idaho-based Micron Technology, strong organic growth combined with its acquisition of Elpida Memory pushed company revenue up 108.5%, propelling Micron to No. 4, up from tenth place in 2012.

For its part, South Korea’s SK Hynix ascended from seventh place to No. 5 on the strength of 42.8% organic growth. All told, memory suppliers accounted for three of the top five slots in 2013.

Qualcomm of California and Taiwan’s MediaTek were the other major success stories last year among the top 25, owing to their market-leading performance in chips for wireless products such as smartphones. Qualcomm maintained the No. 3 position with 30.6% growth, while MediaTek rose to No. 14 with a 36.1% increase.

NXP Semiconductors of the Netherlands together with U.S.-based Avago Technologies and Xilinx likewise enjoyed significant success in 2013, relishing growth of 13.7, 9.2 and 4.6%, 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%, respectively.  Renesas dropped four places to No. 10, in danger of losing its coveted top 10 status altogether.

Asia-Pacific fuels growth

Semiconductor suppliers headquartered in Asia-Pacific saw their combined revenue grow 14.7%, allowing them to capture 25.3% of the chip market—the 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%, translating into 52.4% of total industry takings.

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

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