Semiconductor Market Shows Signs of Rebounding

Paul Lilly

Slumping semiconductor sales may have ended in 2012, IHS iSuppli says.

Stronger than expected growth in the semiconductor market during the fourth quarter of 2012 has research firm IHS iSuppli optimistic that the darkest days are in the past. As iSuppli looks ahead to 2013, it expects the industry to sustain recent growth trends and forecasts revenue will rise by 5.6 percent by the end of the year, "bringing an end to the slump of 2012." That's good news for all players, and especially Qualcomm if it can maintain its momentum.

Qualcomm emerged as one of only three top 10 semiconductor players to experience positive growth in 2012, the others being Samsung and Broadcom. Unlike the other two, however, Qualcomm generated 29.2 percent higher revenue in 2012 compared to 2011, the only firm to record double-digit percentage growth.

"In two years, Qualcomm has risen from No. 9 to No. 3 in the semiconductor rankings," noted Dale Ford, senior director at IHS iSuppli. "This is the strongest ascension through the top ranks by any semiconductor company in recent history. Qualcomm continues to capitalize on the robust growth of semiconductor sales to the strong market for wireless devices including smartphones and media tablets."

Samsung was the other big winner with a 9.5 percent jump in revenue to $31.2 billion. Intel, which still ranks No. 1, slipped 2.7 percent to $47.4 billion, while AMD (No. 12) dropped 17.7 percent to $5.3 billion, both indicative of a growing trend towards mobile.

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