Meanwhile, while Sony Corp. grew its chip sales by 3 percent in the second quarter compared to the first, fellow Japanese chip makers Toshiba Corp., Renesas Electronics Corp. and Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd. all posted sequential sales declines of at least 10 percent, according to IC Insights.
Toshiba posted the steepest decline of any chip company in the top 20, with sales declining 26 percent sequentially, IC Insights said. Toshiba's memory sales—primarily NAND flash memory—declined 40 percent in the second quarter compared to the first, while logic sales declined only 9 percent and its sales optoelectronics, sensors and discretes remained relatively flat, IC Insights said. Toshiba last month announced that it cut its NAND production by 30 percent in response to oversupply and declining prices.
Fujitsu, meanwhile, recorded a 23 percent decline in chip sales from the first quarter to the second quarter, IC Insights said.
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But things may not be as dire as they seem for some of the Japanese chip companies, IC Insights said. Reneases is expecting chip sales to improve by 24 percent in the third quarter compared to the second, the firm said. Toshiba has not reduced its relatively aggressive full-year guidance, suggesting the company may be expecting a strong rebound in chip sales later this year, IC Insights said.
IC Insights said it expects sales for the top 20 chip suppliers to increase, in total, about 5 percent in the third quarter compared with the second. "While this level of growth is not very exciting, it is only one point below the past 30-year average third quarter total semiconductor market increase of 6 percent," the firm said.
IC Insights noted that several major product introductions are set to occur in the fourth quarter that could potentially bring additional momentum to the semiconductor market at the end of this year, including the release of Apple's newest iPhone and Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. Intel Corp. has also reported that several Ultrabook computers are expected to debut in the fourth quarter, some priced as low as $699, IC Insights said.
IC Insights said it expects chip sales to increase 2 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter.