IC Insights has produced a ranking of the top 20 chip vendors by sales in 2013 that shows memory and fabless chip vendors doing well and moving up the table. Memory chip company Micron Technology was the leading performer, according to the market research company, as its sales expanded 82% year-on-year and it climbed from tenth spot to fifth. This was partly a result of its acquisition of Elpida Memory whose $2.5 billion sales are included in Micron's total and also partly from a recovery in average selling prices for memory. The latter also helped South Korea's SK Hynix increase sales 43% and climb two places to sixth in the ranking. This was despite a fire and production setback at its largest memory fab in China and based on a 32% surge in the DRAM market.
Elsewhere in the list fabless chip company Qualcomm increased sales 31% to retain fourth spot and another fabless chip company pursuing the mobile equipment market, MediaTek, achieved a 36% increase in sales to leap from 22nd in 2012 to 16th in 2013. With MediaTek due to merge with MStar in 2014, the annual post-merger sales for MediaTek should be over $6 billion, most likely enough to lift the company into the 12th spot in the 2014 ranking.
The top four positions in 2013 remained unchanged, although Intel suffered along with the PC market it has come to dominate. It remains the top chip company, but its sales declined 2%. Samsung achieved annual growth of 7%, while foundry TSMC placed third with 17% sales growth.
IC Insights includes ICs, optoelectronics, discretes, and sensors in its tally of semiconductor sales. The top 20 vendors for 2013 included nine suppliers headquartered in the US, three in Japan, three in Taiwan, three in Europe, and two in South Korea. It also includes three pure-play foundries -- TSMC, GlobalFoundries, and UMC -- and five fabless companies.
IC Insights differs from other market research firms by including foundries. The firm argues that its ranking is a supplier list and is not affected by semiconductor sales which may be double counted, such as those made by TSMC to Qualcomm and by Qualcomm to mobile phone makers. IC Insights also points out that not all foundry sales are double counted. Those from Samsung to Apple are foundry sales, but go straight into Apple equipment.
Japan and Europe suffered in 2013. Fujitsu dropped five places to fall out of the top 20 ranking in 2013 and Renesas fell to 11th place last year from the 7th position it held in 2012. STMicroelectronics, Europe's leading vendor, fell from 9th to 10th as it suffered the fall out of its failed ST-Ericsson joint venture.
In total, the top 20 semiconductor companies' sales increased by 9% in 2013 as compared to 2012, which was more than twice the 4% growth rate for total worldwide semiconductor market last year, IC Insights said.
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.