SAN FRANCISCO—Intel Corp. accounted for 15.6 percent of the overall semiconductor market in 2011, as brisk sales of its core chips and the acquisition of Infineon AG's wireless chip business unit helped the No. 1 chip vendor achieve its highest share of the overall chip market in more than 10 years, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
Intel's overall market share in 2011 improved by 2.5 percentage points from 13.1 percent in 2010, according to IHS's final tally of the 2011 chip market. The firm issued a preliminary report on the 2011 chip vendors rankings last December.
"Intel in 2011 captured the headlines with its major surge in growth," said Dale Ford, head of electronics and semiconductor research for IHS, in a statement. "The company’s rise was spurred by soaring demand for its PC-oriented microprocessors, and for its NAND flash memory used in consumer and wireless products."
Intel's sales grew by 20.6 percent in 2011, the highest level of growth among the top 20 semiconductor vendors with the exceptions of Qualcomm Inc. and On Semiconductor Corp., each of which saw high levels of growth based on a combination of organic expansion and key acquisitions, IHS said.
In recent years, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. had been getting closer to overtaking Intel and becoming the No. 1 chip supplier. But in 2011, Intel lengthened its lead over Samsung, which accounted for 9.2 percent of overall chip sales, unchanged from 2010, IHS said.
Based on the final numbers, IHS said the chip market grew by a paltry 1.3 percent in 2011, down from an earlier estimate by the firm of 1.9 percent growth. A sequential decline of 5.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 pulled the full-year results down, IHS said.
Qualcomm grew 41.6 percent in 2011 to became the sixth largest chip vendor by sales, up from ninth in 2010, IHS said. Qualcomm accounted for 3.3 percent of overall chip sales, just behind No. 5 player Renesas Electronics Corp., which had 3.4 percent, according to IHS.
On Semi moved to No. 18 in chip sales in 2011, up from No. 26 in 2010, the largest jump of any vendor in the top 25, IHS said. Light-emitting diode (LED) maker Nichia Corp ranked No. 23 in chip sales in 2011, thanks to 34 percent growth, IHS said.
In 2011, just over half of 302 chip suppliers tracked by IHS grew sales compared with 2010, IHS said.
Overall, companies headquartered in the Americas saw the greatest improvement to their semiconductor revenues among all regions, at 7.5 percent growth, IHS said. In comparison, revenue fell 7.2 percent as a whole for Japanese firms, which suffered from the impact of the 2011 earthquake, according to the firm.