Revenues of the global semiconductor industry grew to US$306.8 billion last year, driven mostly by top vendors which outdid industry performance, said market research firm Gartner last Tuesday.
The revenue increase represents 1.8 percent growth, valued at US$5.4 billion, from 2010's performance. Gartner said the growth was driven mostly by the PCs and servers category.
"Of the major device segments, microcomponents performed best in 2011 after a relative underperformance in 2010," said Peter Middleton, principal research analyst, Gartner. "Within microcomponents, the subcategory that really drove this performance was compute microprocessors, which grew 14.2 percent year over year as a result of strong average selling prices (ASPs). This was driven both by servers and PCs, with the PC microprocessor market strongly benefiting from graphics integration."
Last year was particularly good for semiconductor giant Intel, which saw its market share grow to 16.5 percent. Gartner said not only did Intel hold on to its number one position among the top semiconductor vendors, it also recorded its highest-ever market share since 1998, when its share was 16.3 percent.
Led by Intel, Gartner said the top 25 vendors grew faster than industry, at 3.1 percent, and accounted for a larger portion of the industry's total revenue at 69.2 percent, compared to only 68.3 percent in 2010. The research firm also noted that about half of this performance was due to mergers and acquisitions.
Intel's revenues grew to almost US$50.7 billion last year, up 20.7 percent from almost US$42 billion in 20102.
Revenues of second-ranked Samsung were recorded at US$27.3 billion, representing a one percent increase from the previous year. Gartner said weak demand in the DRAM (dynamic random access memory) market widened the gap between the top two vendors.
Toshiba and Texas Instruments remain the third and fourth rankings, respectively, in the industry last year, while Renesas Electronics moved into the top five during its first full year as a combined company.
Renesas Electronics is the result of a merger in April 2010 between NEC Electronics and Renesas Technology. The merged company focuses on three product segments, namely: microcontrollers, system LSIs (large-scale integration), and analog and power devices.
But it was sixth placer Qualcomm which was the fastest-growing semiconductor company last year, noted Gartner. Its revenues grew by 38.8 percent to almost US$10 billion due to its strength in the smartphone market. Gartner said Qualcomm grew 17 percent better than expected, based on Gartner's Relative Industry Performance index.
The Gartner index measures the difference between industry-specific growth for a company and actual growth.
Another top performer last year was Broadcom which ranked number 10 due to its strength in the mobile and wireless division, which recorded another year of double-digit growth.
The Gartner index also showed that Hynix grew 13 percent better than expected while Infineon grew 12 percent better than expected.
Gartner said Panasonic, Elpida Memory and MediaTek were disappointments last year.
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