SAN FRANCISCO—Apple Inc.'s position as the largest buyer of chips gives the firm a dominant position over suppliers. But in the critical Asia-Pacific region—where most chips are bought—local OEMs are increasing spending faster and giving Apple a run for its money in supplier relationships, according to a market research firm.
Semiconductor spending among OEMs headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region is projected to grow by an average of 6 percent in 2012, compared to 2.5 percent growth for all global OEMs, according to IHS iSuppli.
Apple, is expected to increase its semiconductor spending by 15 percent in 2012, buying $28 billion worth of semiconductors, according to IHS. Apple spends the most of any company on chips by a wide and growing margin, according to IHS.
But of all OEMs buying chips in the Asia-Pacific region, the largest spending increases are expected to come from three local companies—Taiwan's HTC Corp. and China's ZTE Corp. and TCL Corp., according to IHS.
"Local companies have led, are leading and will lead the Asia-Pacific region in semiconductor spending growth—not the larger OEMs headquartered elsewhere, such as Apple, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc.," said Myson Robles-Bruce, senior analyst for semiconductor spending and design activity at IHS, in a statement. Asia-Pacific is the largest global region for chip purchasing and is set to outperform the rest of the world in coming years, according to IHS.
According to Robles-Bruce, while Apple's size gives it enormous advantages in terms of component supply and pricing, "the Asia-Pacific players are playing to their home-field advantage, wielding in Asia the same kind of influence that Apple now enjoys globally."