SAN FRANCISCO—By most analysts' estimates, the semiconductor industry is forecast to grow only slightly in 2011, but that won't stop some chip companies from achieving significantly higher growth, according to market research firm IC Insights Inc.
For example, buoyed by a projected 73 percent growth in smartphones, handset chip vendor Qualcomm Inc. is expected to grow sales by about 33 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, according to IC Insights. With projected revenue of about $9.59 billion, Qualcomm is set to move to No. 8 in chip sales in 2011, up from No. 10 in 2010, according to the firm.
At the other end of the spectrum, Japanese memory chip vendor Elpida Memory Inc. is expected to register a sales decline of 39 percent in 2011, according to IC Insights, which added that Elpida's slide is likely to be closer to 50 percent when stated in Japanese yen. With projected sales of about $3.95 billion, Elpida is projected to slip to No. 19 in semiconductor sales in 2011, down from No. 13 last year, according IC Insights.
All told, the top 20 chip vendors are forecast to cumulatively grow 6 percent in 2011, much higher than the expected growth rate of 2 percent for the semiconductor industry as a whole, according to IC Insights.
Intel Corp. is expected to retain firm control of the No. 1 ranking in chip sales for the 20th consecutive year. Thanks in part to its acquisition of Infineon's wireless chip unit earlier this year, Intel is projected to increase its lead over second-ranked chip vendor Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. with projected sales of $50.59 billion, 47 percent better than Samsung's projected $34.67 billion, IC Insights said. In 2010, Intel's chip sales were 24 percent better than Samsung's.
Nvidia Corp. is expected to jump to No. 18 in semiconductor sales in 2011 from No. 23 in 2010, thanks to healthy growth in its graphics and communications processor business, IC Insights said.
Memory chip vendors are not expected to fare as well in the 2011 top 20 rankings as they did in 2010. The top seven growth rates between 2010 and 2011 are expected to be achieved by non-memory chip vendors, IC Insights said.
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