Case in point is the world’s largest semiconductor supplier, Intel Corp. of the United States, whose chip revenue is expected to rise 7.7 percent in 2007 to reach $33.97 billion in 2007, up from $31.5 billion in 2006, according to iSuppli’s preliminary ranking. Intel exceeded the overall semiconductor industry growth rate of 4.1 percent in 2007 and massively outperformed its PC microprocessor rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) of the United States, whose sales are expected to decline by 22.7 percent for the year.
“Throughout most of the year, Intel successfully defended much of the market share that it won from AMD in the first quarter in the PC microprocessor segment due to the success of its lines of dual- and quad-core chips,” said Dale Ford, vice president, market intelligence, for iSuppli. “This represents a major reversal of fortune compared to 2006, when AMD had the advantage with its popular dual-core microprocessors, allowing it to gain share from Intel.”
Intel’s market-share rose to 12.5 percent in 2007, up from 12.1 percent in 2006.
After rising into the Top-10 rankings for the first time ever last year, AMD’s revenue decline is expected to cause it to drop back to 11th place in 2007, down from eighth place in 2006. AMD’s semiconductor revenue in CY 2007 is set to fall to $5.8 billion, down
from $7.5 billion in 2006.
Table 1 attached presents iSuppli’s preliminary global ranking of the world’s Top-20 semiconductor suppliers in 2007.
Sony and Toshiba win at video games
Another example of how individual circumstances are determining company performance is consumer-electronics powerhouse Sony Corp. of Japan, whose semiconductor revenue is expected to rise by 56.8 percent in 2007, by far the highest percentage growth of all the Top-20 semiconductor suppliers for the year. In contrast, overall consumer-electronics semiconductor revenue is set to increase by only 8.9 percent in 2007.
Sony’s revenue increase is nearly all due to its sales of chips for the company’s PlayStation 3 video-game console. Company semiconductor revenue increased to $8 billion in 2007, up from $5.1 billion in 2006.
Japan’s Toshiba Corp., which supplies semiconductors to Sony for the PlayStation 3 as well, also is expected to post a standout performance in the global semiconductor industry in 2007 with growth of 24.1 percent, the second-largest percentage increase among the Top-20 chip makers.
“The PlayStation 3-driven performance of these two suppliers is the major factor propelling the world-beating growth of the Japanese semiconductor industry in 2007,” Ford observed. “Revenue generated by semiconductor suppliers headquartered in Japan is expected to rise by 11.9 percent in 2007, the largest increase of any region.”
With fellow Japanese suppliers Renesas Technology and NEC Electronics expected to post a revenue increase of 3 percent and a decline of 0.8 percent respectively, it’s clear that Sony and Toshiba are the major factors driving growth in Japan’s chip industry.
Table 2 attached presents iSuppli’s preliminary estimate of global semiconductor revenue in 2007 by company headquarters location.
Sony has announced a deal to transfer production of its Cell microprocessor for the PlayStation 3 to Toshiba. If this deal closes before the end of the year, Sony’s chip revenue in 2007 in this area will be transferred to Toshiba, based on iSuppli’s methodology.
Under these circumstances, Toshiba would increase its distance from Texas Instruments as the world’s No. 3 semiconductor supplier, while Sony would drop out the Top-10 rankings.
Qualcomm heads in opposite direction from Texas Instruments and Freescale
Yet another example of company-specific trends can be seen in the divergent performances of various wireless semiconductor suppliers.
Qualcomm Inc. of the United States is expected to post the third largest increase in revenue among the Top-20 semiconductor suppliers in 2007, rising by 23.7 percent to reach $5.6 billion, up from $4.5 billion in CY 2006. This will put Qualcomm into the market’s 12th ranking in 2007, up from 16th in 2006.
Qualcomm’s increase is entirely due to a surge in sales of semiconductors for mobile handsets and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Infineon Technologies AG of Germany is set to achieve a 14.6 percent increase in semiconductor revenue CY 2007, much of this increase is due to a rise in wireless communications semiconductor sales.
However, U.S.-based Texas Instruments Inc., which derives more than 45 percent of its revenue from wireless communications chips, is expected to suffer a 3.4 percent decline in global semiconductor revenue in 2007.
“With global wireless semiconductor revenue expected to rise by 4.3 percent in 2007, the divergent performances of these companies is being driven by a specific event: Nokia’s initiative to diversify its supply base,” Ford noted. “Nokia, the world’s largest seller of mobile phones, historically has used Texas Instruments as its near-exclusive supplier of wireless baseband suppliers. However, the company has engaged in a strategic initiative to add other baseband suppliers to reduce its dependency on Texas Instruments. This has benefited other companies such as Infineon, but has cut into Texas Instruments’ sales.”
Meanwhile, fellow mobile-handset semiconductor supplier Freescale Semiconductor of the United States is set for a 10.7 percent decline in chip sales for 2007. This is primarily due to weakness at Freescale’s largest customer, Motorola Inc., which has been losing market share to Nokia and Samsung in mobile handset sales in 2007.
iSuppli hits forecast bull’s-eye
iSuppli now estimates global semiconductor revenue will rise by 4.1 percent in CY 2007 to reach $270.9 billion, up from $260.2 billion in 2006. This represents a minor increase compared to iSuppli’s forecast of 3.5 percent growth that was issued in September.
“Sequential growth in global semiconductor revenue in the third quarter amounted to 11.9 percent, very close to iSuppli’s forecast of an 9.9 percent expansion,” Ford said. “With the third-quarter results slightly exceeding expectations, iSuppli has raised its annual revenue estimate by a scant 0.6 of a percentage point.” [November 30, 2007]
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