Electronics Production | May 15, 2009

Chaos reigns in Top20 Semiconductor Company Ranking

The global recession and subsequent inventory corrections in the electronic system and semiconductor industries have caused a major shakeup in the 1Q09 Top20 semiconductor company ranking. The IC Insights’ May Update to The McClean Report states that the volatility in the ranking is forecast to continue in 2Q09.
Many top semiconductor suppliers are expected to rebound from a weak 1Q09 to register strong double-digit 2Q09/1Q09 sequential sales growth! Of the Top20 companies in 1Q09, only Intel (#1), Samsung (#2), and Fujitsu (#17) remained in the same positions as they ranked in 2008.

Some notable changes to the Top20 ranking are shown below:

Qualcomm — The world’s largest fabless IC supplier, which focuses on leading-edge cellphone devices, moved from being ranked 8th in 2008 to 6th in 1Q09. IC Insights anticipates increasingly positive news for Qualcomm as high-end cellphone (e.g., smartphone) sales pick up speed throughout 2009. AMD — Jumped into the Top10 group, moving up three spots from 12th in 2008 to 9th in 1Q09. However, AMD is one of the few top semiconductor companies that has stated it expects 2Q09 sales to be worse than in 1Q09. How long will it stay in the Top10?

MediaTek — High-flying fabless IC supplier MediaTek joined the Top20 ranking by jumping five positions. In fact, MediaTek was the only Top20 semiconductor supplier to register a 1Q09/4Q08 sequential sales increase, a whopping 16% surge! The company attributed part of its success to the “stay-at-home-economy” driving digital TV IC sales as well as continued strength in its core wireless communications business.

TSMC — The largest foundry in the world dropped six positions in the 1Q09 ranking but managed to stay in the Top10. It is well known that fabless IC suppliers are some of the worst offenders with regard to IC inventory builds and burns. With fabless companies representing the bulk of TSMC’s sales, the company has been caught in a hellacious two-quarter inventory burn period (4Q08 and 1Q09), with 1Q09 sales 57% less than were registered in 3Q08!

However, the anticipated recovery in TSMC’s sales will be one of the most significant rebounds witnessed in the IC industry this year. Using current exchange rates, it is expected that TSMC’s 2Q09 sales will be about $2.2 billion, a sequential increase of 89%! Moreover, IC Insights believes that if this level of sales is achieved next quarter, it would serve to rank TSMC as the third largest semiconductor supplier in the world in 2Q09!

NXP and Nvidia — These two companies fell out of the Top20 ranking in 1Q09, with NXP falling from being ranked 15th in 2008 to 21st in 1Q09 and Nvidia dropping from 20th to 22nd. However, IC Insights
expects a significant rebound in both of these companies’ sales in 2Q09, maybe even enough to put them back into the Top20!
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