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Electronics Production | September 28, 2010

System-Critical Chips: Market hits record expansion in 2010

Annual revenue for core silicon, the largest segment in the semiconductor industry, is set for unprecedented growth in 2010, wiping out the decline of the last year, according to market researcher iSuppli.
At no time in the past decade has the core silicon industry enjoyed anything like the growth forecasted for 2010, with global revenue expected to hit USD 102.7 billion, up an outsized 21.2% from USD 84.8 billion in 2009. Revenue will continue to increase until the end of the forecast period in 2014, when the industry will be worth USD 127.2 billion, but growth rates will not exceed 8% after 2010, iSuppli announced.

Growth projected this year for core silicon eclipses the previous high of 17.9% in 2004, and it also more than erases the contraction in 2009, iSuppli’s semiconductor market research shows. Moreover, revenue this year will exceed the USD 100 billion mark—previously thought to be unattainable until 2013 or 2014.

Among the three major core silicon segments, Programmable Logic devices (PLD) will grow the fastest, finishing the year at USD 4.7 billion, up 43.0% from 2009 levels. Wired communications and industrial market applications will drive PLD sales, iSuppli’s semiconductor forecasts indicate.

Application-Specific Standard Products (ASSP) will not share the booming growth of PLDs. Just the same, projected ASSP revenue for 2010, at USD 79.7 billion, is still 23.1% greater than 2009 levels and substantially higher than any year in history.

Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) will continue to lag behind the other devices, as they have done so for most of the past decade. Although the devices will grow 9.8% to USD 17.0 billion in 2010, anything less than a 20% increase must be considered sub-par growth, according to iSuppli’s semiconductor industry analysis. ASICs will be the only core silicon segment not to stage a full recovery from the economic slump, and an upturn is not expected until 2013 or 2014.
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Note: Core silicon refers to the semiconductors that implement specific, individual functionality in an electronic system—for instance, the integrated circuit that makes a DVD player what it is and not some other type of system, such as a washing machine.

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