PORTLAND, Ore.—Despite the gloomy outlook for semiconductors in 2012, with more than 59 percent of the leading 157 semiconductor suppliers tracked by IHS iSuppli expected to suffer revenue declines, a few bright spots were highlighted by booming mobile device sales.
At the top of that list is Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego), which is expected to edge out Texas Instruments Inc. to take the third rank behind Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which have remained the top two sellers of chips for years.
Also moving up in rankings in 2012, according to IHS, are Broadcom Corp., Sony Corp., NXP Semiconductors NV, Nvidia Corp. and MediaTek Inc.—all of which are benefiting from strong growth in mobile device sales.
Qualcomm's sales are projected to grow more than 27 percent in 2012—the highest growth rate of any top 20 chip maker—according to preliminary results from IHS iSuppli's Competitive Landscaping Tool. As a result, Qualcomm, for years the world's largest fabless chip maker, has risen from No. 9 overall in chip sales to No. 3 in just two years.
"With its chips at the heart of countless cellphones, including Apple Inc.’s marquee iPhone 5, Qualcomm has discovered an oasis of growth in the desert that is the semiconductor market in 2012," said Dale Ford, senior director at IHS. "This six-rank ascent in two years represents the biggest increase of any major semiconductor supplier in recent history."
Click on rankings table to enlarge.
IHS's chip supplier rankings are largely consistent with those issued by another market research firm,
IC Insights Inc. last month. IC Insights rankings showed Qualcomm moving to the No. 4 position, ahead of TI, but behind Intel, Samsung and pure-play foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC). IHS's rankings do not include foundries, which make chips on a contract basis for chip vendors, including Qualcomm.