SAN FRANCISCOGlobal semiconductor revenue increased by 2 percent in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of sequential growth, the longest such stretch since 2004, according to market research firm iSuppli Corp.
The 2 percent first quarter sequential gaina rare increase from a holiday season into the beginning of a new year was higher than expected, bringing total chip revenue to $70.6 billion for the quarter, iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.) said. The firm previously estimated that first quarter chip revenue would increase 1.1 percent sequentially.
According to Dale Ford, senior vice president of market intelligence services at iSuppli, the first quarter represented the fourth consecutive period of quarterly growth for the semiconductor industry, the longest period of successive expansion since 2004. Only six of the more than 150 chip suppliers tracked by iSuppli recorded first quarter sales that were below the first quarter of 2009, Ford said.
"This represents a testament to the broad-based strength of the semiconductor industry recovery since the market hit bottom in early 2009," Ford said.
Renesas Electronics Corp., created by the merger of NEC and Renesas, debuted at No. 5 on iSuppli's list of the top 10 semiconductor supplier for the first quarter (see rankings table on page 2). In its top 20 ranking of semiconductor suppliers, issued Thursday (May 27), rival market research firm IC Insights Inc. ranked Renesas sixth.
Among top 10 chip suppliers, the strongest performance in the first quarter belonged to memory vendor Micron Technology Inc., which posted a 14 percent sequential gain in first quarter revenue, reaching $1.8 billion, iSuppli said. Micron benefitted from strong revenue growth in DRAM, one of the hottest growing segments of chips in the first quarter, iSuppli said. Overall DRAM revenue increased 8.8 percent sequentially to $9.4 billion, according to iSuppli.
Meanwhile, STMicroelectronics NV saw first quarter revenue decline 10 percent sequentially, iSuppli said. On a year-to-year basis, though, ST's revenue was up 40 percent compared to the first quarter of 2009, iSuppli said.