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What’s happening with global semicon industry?

August 13, 2011 1 comment

1H11/1H10 top 20 semiconductor sales leaders. Source: IC Insight, USA.

1H11/1H10 top 20 semiconductor sales leaders. Source: IC Insights, USA.

IC Insights recently released the 1H-11 top 20 semicon sales leaders. No surprises here, with Intel, Samsung, TSMC, TI and Toshiba as the top five leaders in that order. In all, 10 of the top 20 suppliers outperformed the total global semiconductor industry 1H11/1H10 growth rate of 4 percent.

The fabless companies — notably, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and so on, have registered positive growths. However, if you really look carefully, a lot of the companies thereafter have registered negative growth for the period 1H-11 over 1H-10.

What’s surprising to notice is the fact that at least seven companies — Renesas, Hynix, Micron, AMD, Infineon, Elpida and NXP have registered negative growth! This, during a period when the semiconductor industry was said to be on the rebound?  Whatever the reasons, they are all in the red!

Now, we are not spent from discussing an industry turnaround, which is perhaps there!  Also, the forecast for 2H-11 isn’t something to go overboard. IC Insights expects the 2H11/1H11 semiconductor market to grow only 6 percent, that is, a full-year 2011 semiconductor industry growth rate of 5 percent.

Closer to home, as usual, there are no Indian firms in the global top 20 list. As things stand, they may not even make it to the list, at least, for quite a while. One hopes that this situation somehow changes. Wonder, how did the India Semiconductor Association (ISA)-Frost & Sullivan study come up with a figure of 28.3 percent growth in 2010! Perhaps, I am mistaken in my calculations somewhere!!

Growth forecast down for global semicon industry?

August 1, 2011 Comments off

There are two different sets of predictions about the global semiconductor industry. First, IC Insights lowered its growth forecast for 2011 from 10 percent to 5 percent and the 2011 IC market forecast from 10 percent to 4 percent. Following this, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), announced that global sales of semiconductors were $24.7 billion for June 2011, a 1.5 percent decrease from the prior month when sales were $25 billion and 0.5 percent decrease from a year ago.

Sales in Q2-11 were down 2 percent compared to the prior quarter. Despite these, the global semicon industry registered growth of 3.7 percent during H1-2011, noted SIA. These are indeed interesting!

Brian Toohey, president, SIA, remarked, “Despite this month’s modest contraction in sales, the industry saw a 3.7 percent increase in the first half of 2011 sales compared to the same period last year which saw record breaking growth.”

At first glance, these lower predictions could be attributed to the still-recovering Japan. IC Insights has lowered projections owing to poor performance by the global economy in the first half of 2011. On the other hand, SIA is hopeful of the inclusion of more green and smart technology in vehicles, although it is still a few years away.

Besides Japan, IC Insights has listed the Arab unrest and higher oil prices, surge of natural disasters in the US, and European debt crises and US debt ceiling deadline as the economic headwinds during H1-2011. Will those go away so soon?

While the global GDP growth during H2-2011 is not likely to go back to the levels registered during the first three quarters of 2011, it is expected that there may be some improvement.

IC Insights’  forecast also assumes that the issues mentioned will be resolved and none of those will cause any serious negative financial situation for the global economy in H2 of 2011.

Just last month, Dr. Wally Rhines, chairman and CEO, Mentor Graphics, said: “There is more new capacity coming into foundries by 2012. Investment in memory has been modest. However, fabless companies should find more capacity in 2012.” One hopes this holds true!

More ‘fabless IC billionaires’ in 2010, says IC Insights! Is India listening?

December 22, 2010 5 comments

Brilliant! There’s no other word to describe the first part of this headline!

As per IC Insights’ forecast of 2010 billion-dollar fabless IC suppliers, excerpted from a ranking of top 50 fabless IC suppliers in its ‘ 2011 edition of The McClean Report’, as many as 13 fabless IC suppliers are tipped to cross the $1-billion mark in sales in 2010! As per IC Insights, this is a significant step up — from 10 companies in 2009 and eight in 2008.

Leading fabless IC suppliers. Source: IC Insight, USA.

Leading fabless IC suppliers. Source: IC Insight, USA.

Just sit back and admire this table. There are nine firms from the US — Qualcomm, Broadcom, AMD, Marvell, Nvidia, Xilinx, Altera, LSI and Avago, three from Taiwan — MediaTek, Novatek and MStar, while ST-Ericsson is Europe’s lone representation in this stellar list.

In this august club of IC billionaires, no surprises, but Qualcomm retains the top place for the third consecutive year. Broadcom moves up a place. AMD should become the world’s third largest player.

Broadcom at 53 percent, Marvell at 34 percent, Xilinx at 39 percent, Altera at 63 percent, Avago and Novatek at 40 percent each are top performers. However, MStar of Taiwan steals the show with an estimated 75 percent growth in 2010.

Qualcomm, Nvidia and LSI have performed well, especially  the last two – coming pff a difficult 2009. Taiwan’s MediaTek has seen the biggest slip — down to 3 percent in 2010 from 22 percent in 2009.

There is no representation from Japan in the fabless IC billionaires club. IC Insights has indicated that the fabless/foundry hasn’t caught on in Japan and is unlikely to do so in the near future. However, Taiwan and China based firms should sooner or later find their way into this club.

I will now come to India! Read more…

Semicon rankings 2009: Global revenue dips, but did anyone tell that to Apac suppliers?

March 29, 2010 Comments off

Recently, I received a report from iSuppli, which boldly stated that Asia-Pacific semiconductor suppliers defied the downturn in 2009. It said: “combined revenue for semiconductor suppliers headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region actually grew by 2.3 percent in 2009 to reach $44.5 billion, up from $43.5 billion in 2008. In contrast, global semiconductor revenue in 2009 fell by 11.7 percent to $229.9 billion, down from $260.2 billion in 2008.”

Today, there’s a report from Gartner stating that the total worldwide semiconductor revenue reached $228.4 billion in 2009, down $26.8 billion, or 10.5 percent, from 2008.

Which report would you prefer reading first? I’d go with iSuppli’s report!

 Final Total Semiconductor Revenues by Region (Revenue Millions of US Dollars): Source: iSuppli, USA

Final Total Semiconductor Revenues by Region (Revenue Millions of US Dollars): Source: iSuppli, USA

One, it is no surprise that Asia based semicon suppliers have done so well. That’s not all! Only two major semiconductor product segments escaped the downturn of 2009: LEDs and NAND flash memory. Korean and Taiwan based suppliers have led the way.

Let’s look at iSuppli’s list of top 25 suppliers for 2009. First, the movers or suppliers that had positive growth in 2009 or improved their rankings. The movers were:

* Samsung at no. 2 with 3.5 percent growth
* Hynix at no. 7 with 3.7 percent change over 2009; in fact, Hynix improved its position from no. 9 in 2008 to no. 7 in 2009
* Elpida Memory at no. 15 with 9.7 percent change over 2009; Elpida improved its position from 19th in 2008 to 15th in 2009.
* Mediatek at no. 16 with 22.6 percent growth; Mediatek also improved its ranking from no. 24 in in 2008 to no. 16 in 2009 — a sizeable jump up.

Interesting, isn’t it? All of these suppliers are from Asia! Two Korean and one each from Taiwan and Japan, respectively.

Also, if you look at the top 25 suppliers, barring these four, none of the others managed a positive growth or change in 2009.

If you need to look at some other movers in iSuppli’s table, here they are:

* Qualcomm — moved up from 8th in 2008 to 6th in 2009.
* AMD — moved up from 12th in 2008 to 8th in 2009.
* Micron — moved up from 16th in 2008 to 13th in 2009.
Nothing much to speak about the rest! Is that expected? Perhaps, it is! 2009 has been a year best forgotten.

Top 10 semiconductor vendors by revenue estimates, 2009 (Millions of US Dollars): Source: Gartner, USA

Top 10 semiconductor vendors by revenue estimates, 2009 (Millions of US Dollars): Source: Gartner, USA

Now. when I look at Gartner’s top 10 semiconductor vendors, it also indicates Samsung and Hynix as the only two suppliers within the top 10 to register some positive growth in 2009.

LEDs, NAND beat downturn

Coming back to iSuppli’s report, with LEDs and NAND beating the downturn, it said: “with expanding demand from mobile products such as cell phones, the NAND Flash market grew by more than 15 percent in 2009. LEDs saw a rapid rise in adoption in a wide range of applications, especially in backlighting of LCD-TVs, causing their revenue to rise by more than 5 percent.”

iSuppli even goes on to mention the creditable performance of Seoul Semiconductor in LEDs. Also, it mentions that more than half of Taiwanese suppliers achieved revenue growth in 2009. MediaTek, Nanya Technology and Macronix International led the way for Taiwan with growth of 22.6 percent, 21.2 percent and 14.4 percent, respectively. Read more…

Qualcomm, AMD head top 25 fabless IC suppliers for 2009; Taiwan firms finish strong!

January 19, 2010 4 comments

Top 25 fabless IC suppliers for 2009. Source: IC Insights

Top 25 fabless IC suppliers for 2009. Source: IC Insights

So, IC Insights has revealed the top 25 list of fabless IC suppliers for 2009! No surprises, Qualcomm still leads!

However, AMD is the surprise runner-up, for now. The reason being: AMD became a fabless company by including its Dresden, Germany fabs as part of GlobalFoundries spin-off. IC Insights included all of AMD’s sales for 2009 in its study.

Some other interesting points
First, as many as nine fabless IC companies — all of the top nine companies — had sales of $1 billion or more in 2009. These are: Qualcomm, AMD, Broadcom, MediaTek, nVidia, Marvell, Xilinx, LSI Corp., Altera and Avago! And you still believe there was a recession in H1-09?

Movers and shakers
So, who are the leading top movers and shakers?

* nVidia dropped down two places from 3rd in 2008 to 5th in 2009.
* Marvell also dropped down two places from 4th in 2008 to 6th in 2009.
* With AMD coming in 2nd place, Xilinx, LSI, Altera and Avago — all dropped down one place each.
* CSR dropped down three places from 12th in 2008 to 15th in 2009.
* MegaChips dropped down four places from 15th in 2008 to 19th in 2009.
* Conexant had the steepest drop — dropping 11 places down, from 14th in 2008 to 25th in 2009.
* MediaTek moved up one place from 5th in 2008 to 4th in 2009.
* Realtek moved up three places from 16th in 2008 to 13th in 2009.
* Mstar moved up five places from 19th in 2008 to 14th in 2009.
* Richtek had the steepest climb — moving up by 11 places, from 35th in 2008 to 24th in 2009.

The list comprises fabless IC suppliers from the USA — which has 17 representations, including nine suppliers in the top 10! Taiwan has six representations, with one — MediaTek — figuring among the top 10, well, top five actually! Europe and Japan have one representation each — in CSR and MegaChips. Read more…

2009 ending with lot of positives for global semiconductor industry

December 18, 2009 1 comment

Friends, I’ve been receiving lot of information lately regarding the state of the global semiconductor industry. Let me share some of those with you, here.

First, from my favorite, IC Insights. It said recently that after the slump of 2009, the electronics systems sales is likely to set new sales record in 2011!

Following the worst economic recession in over six decades, global sales of electronics systems are projected to fall 11 percent in 2009 to $1.11 trillion from a record-high $1.24 trillion in 2008, according to the just-released 2010 edition of IC Insights’ Integrated Circuit Market Drivers report. This year’s drop is only the third annual decline in the history of electronics systems sales — following 2001 and 2002.

According to IC Insights, the electronics equipment market is forecast to rebound in 2010 with the total value of systems shipments growing 7 percent to $1.19 trillion. Another 9 percent increase in systems sales is expected in 2011, which will push global electronics equipment revenues to a new record-high $1.29 trillion. IC Insights sees 2010 recovery year being led by 9 percent rise in revenues for communications systems and automotive electronics.

Top six NAND flash memory suppliers: iSuppli

Top six NAND flash memory suppliers: iSuppli

Next, from iSuppli, another one of my favorites. It reported that following a strong performance in the global NAND flash memory market in Q309, Japan’s Toshiba Corp. led the way with its revenue improving by nearly 50 percent during the period. Wonderful!

Incidentally, the global NAND flash memory revenue in Q3 rose to $3.94 billion, up 25.5 percent from $3.1 billion during Q2. That’s excellent! You can see the iSuppli table on the top six NAND flash memory suppliers here.

Here’s another one — from SEMI, which recently reported that the global semiconductor manufacturing equipment billings had reached $4.54 billion during Q309. This figure is 69 percent higher than the second quarter of 2009, but 31 percent less than the same quarter a year ago. Nevertheless, this news is also encouraging!

Top 10 Worldwide Semiconductor Vendors, Preliminary Ranking by Estimated Revenue (Millions of US Dollars): Gartner

Top 10 Worldwide Semiconductor Vendors, Preliminary Ranking by Estimated Revenue (Millions of US Dollars): Gartner

Also, Gartner reported that global semicon revenue had declined $29 billion in 2009, with revenue totaling $226 billion in 2009, an 11.4 percent decline from 2008. Now, this is expected, given the tough year we have had. Here are Gartner’s top 10 global semicon vendors.

I have another release, this one from the venture capitalists (VC) community — the Venture View 2010, the annual predictions survey conducted by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).

Clean technology is likely to be industry where most VCs predict growth with 54 percent forecasting higher investment levels in 2010. Other favorable industries include Internet (46 percent predicting higher investment levels), Media and Entertainment (33 percent) and Software (32 percent).

The semiconductor industry is the sector in which most VCs believe we’ll see a decrease next year. Sixty-four percent predict lower investment levels in 2010.

Many venture capitalists believe that the wireless sector will experience declines with 37 percent predicting lower levels for next year as well.

Well, I don’t quite agree!

Especially, with regard to semiconductor and wireless. However, it is evident that VCs are looking at segments where they can get returns much faster, and that’s quite understandable.

Finally, borrowing a quote from Future Horizons’ Malcolm Penn from last month, where he said, “We now see the market declining only 10 percent over 2008, a truly remarkable recovery considering the abyss we were staring into just this time last year.”

So true! Who would have imagined such positive news, as above, to have come out during the end of 2009 — by far, the worst year in this decade for the global semiconductor industry. Still, the VCs don’t want to invest here? Why? Perhaps, they have either miscalculated or did not expect the recovery to be as swift as it has been so far!

The year is ending with a lot of positives for the global semiconductor industry. Let’s hope for a strong performance in 2010. I leave it to all of the pessimists to keep searching for negatives! In the meantime, I will bask in the glory of all the positives signs currently emanating from the global semiconductor industry.

Strong semicon industry recovery likely in 2010!

November 7, 2009 Comments off

If all of the industry analysts are to be believed, the semiconductor market recovery has begun! Nearly all of them have been forecasting a recovery in the global semiconductor market as well. Let’s take a look at their predictions.

* According to IC Insights, the top 20 suppliers’ sales show back-to-back 19 percent growth rates! In fact, four of the top 20 — Samsung, Toshiba, Qualcomm, and MediaTek are likely to show sales growth this year!

* As per Databeans, the Americas was the first to post growth for semiconductors from the same quarter a year ago, up 8 percent. Worldwide, Q3 came in down 10 percent from 2008, but up 20 percent sequentially. This puts the market on target with our current prediction of $217 billion, a contraction of 13 percent from 2008. Databeans is also still predicting that the 2010 revenue will be up 17 percent from this year.

* The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) is projecting worldwide sales of $219.7 billion for 2009, a decline of 11.6 percent from the $248.6 billion reported in 2008. Forecast projects that sales will grow by 10.2 percent to $242.1 billion in 2010 and by 8.4 percent to $262.3 billion in 2011. Worldwide sales of semiconductors in the quarter ended September 30 were $61.9 billion, an increase of 19.7 percent from the prior quarter when sales were $51.7 billion, it reported.

* According to DRAMeXchange, 3Q09 DRAM revenue increased 40.7 percent to $5,719 million. Samsung, Hynix, Elpida, Micron and Nanya (of Taiwan) make up the top 5 positions.

* Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments increased significantly during the third quarter 2009 when compared to the second quarter 2009 area shipments according to the SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG) in its quarterly analysis of the silicon wafer industry. Total silicon wafer area shipments were 1,972 million square inches during the most recent quarter, a 17 percent increase from the 1,686 million square inches shipped during the previous quarter. The new quarterly total area shipments are 13 percent below third quarter 2008 shipments.

* Malcolm Penn, chairman and CEO of Future Horizons says that Q3-09 chip growth has set the stage for 22 percent surge In 2010 vs. 2009! The market rebound started at the end of Q1, with Q2 coming in at 17 percent sequential growth. With Q3 now up a further 20 percent and Q4 market guidance in the 5 percent to 7 percent range, the 2009 market is set to close out at between $220-225 billion.

* Although global semiconductor revenue is set to decline in 2009 for the second consecutive year, quarterly year-over-year growth is expected to finally return to the market in the fourth quarter, signaling the start of the industry recovery, according to iSuppli Corp. As iSuppli previously announced, global semiconductor revenue is set to contract by 16.5 percent in 2009.

* A note of caution from The Information Network, which said that semiconductor equipment billings were at 1994 levels as semis continue to underspend! Much of the problem in its opinion is the transition from 200mm to 300mm diameter wafers. Also, semiconductor companies, let by International Sematech, are pushing for a transition to 450mm wafers, which in our opinion will be the death knell for a large number of equipment manufacturers. It is critical that semiconductor equipment manufacturers boycott 450mm development. The Information Network also indicated that the “salad days” are over for the equipment industry.

* Late September 2009, the EDA Consortium (EDAC) Market Statistics Service (MSS) announced that the EDA industry revenue for Q2 2009 is $1,125.5 million, a 5.6 percent sequential decline from Q1. Since Q3 results are awaited, and as Walden Rhines, EDAC chair and chairman and CEO of Mentor Graphics, said, “As the electronics industry recovers, and its R&D spending increases to come in line with its growing revenue, the EDA industry would be expected to recover as well.”

* According to iSuppli, foundries played the semiconductor survivor in 2010. It reported that although the global semiconductor foundry market is set to make a welcome return to growth in 2010 after a terrible 2009, the recent downturn is likely to thin the ranks of the top-tier pure-play suppliers down to just three major players in the future,

There you have it! All of the semiconductor pundits are pointing toward a recovery in 2010!

However, there are some questions that remain unanswered, for now.  iSuppli also reported that there has been no double booking in this semiconductor recovery in late 2009 at least. Will this scenario remain? For how long? Or, will those same old mistakes be made once the industry is back to being healthy?

Will there be renewed interest in the move toward 450mm fabs? What happens to all those companies making equipment for 300mm fabs, should that happen?

Will the companies re-write their business plans, as advised by Future Horizons’ Malcolm Penn?

In all of these good tidings, there is some discomfort hidden deep down!

Oh, one last point! What happens to all of those folks who got laid off during the longest recession of our times? Will they be re-instated?

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