LONDON – Global sales of semiconductors grew in 2011 by 0.4 percent reaching a record value of $299.52 billion, according to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics organization. The December results came in much as expected but produced a weak fourth quarter that prevented the global chip company from exceeding $300 billion.
The three month moving average for global sales in December was $23.83 billion and the December actual sales were $25.35 billion. The December actual sales were up 12.0 percent sequentially – which is above trend – but still below the actual sales of $26.56 billion recorded in December 2010. The fourth quarter's sales were $71.50 billion, down 7.7 percent sequentially and down 5.3 percent from the fourth quarter sales of 2010.
The fourth quarter is, on average, down less than one percent from the third quarter and the steep quarterly fall, largely expected after weak figures reported for October and November indicates that the chip market remains slow, although this was largely driven by weakness in DRAM prices and the PC market more generally.
The value of the total discrete, optoelectronic and sensors market grew by 8.3 percent and MOS microprocessors grew by 7.5 percent compared to 2010, according to the European Semiconductor Industry Association (ESIA). Most other semiconductor categories showed annual growth, ESIA said.
On a geographic basis in 2011, the Americas and Asia Pacific regions showed annual growth while the European and Japanese chip markets contracted. Asia Pacific was the largest market at $164.03 billion up 2.5 percent on 2010. The Americas region was $55.20 billion, up 2.8 percent. The Japanese market, at $42.90 billion for 2011, shrank by 7.9 percent, while the European market was $37.39 billion, down on 2010 by 1.7 percent.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.