Semiconductor revenue from mobile devices surpasses PCs, notebooks

by CXOtoday Staff    Apr 24, 2013

Semiconductor Revenue

The grim situation for the PC industry shows no signs of receding, a latest Gartner report on semiconductor revenue just reiterates this fact. The worldwide semiconductor foundry market totaled $34.6 billion in 2012, a 16.2 percent increase from 2011, however semiconductor revenue for mobile devices surpassed that of PCs and notebooks.

As Samuel Wang, Research VP at Gartner explains, “2012 was the first year that the semiconductor revenue for mobile devices surpassed that of PCs and notebooks. It also marked the first year that advanced technology for mobile applications drove the foundry revenue. Furthermore, 2012 saw not only major foundries improve the yield of 28 nanometer (nm) technology, but also many foundries fine-tuned the device performance of legacy nodes.”

2012 marked the first year that advanced technology for mobile applications drove the foundry revenue.
-Samuel Wang, Research VP, Gartner

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) maintained the No. 1 spot due to its success of advanced technology nodes. Strong performance on 32 nm yields and the availability of sub-45-nm wafer capacity at the Dresden, Germany, fabs allowed Globalfoundries to advance to the No. 2 position, while United Microelectronics Corporation’s (UMC) market share decreased due to reduced wafer shipments. Driven by the wafers consumed by Apple’s A6 and A6X chips, Samsung moved up four spots to the No. 5 position with 175.5 percent growth in 2012. The No. 4  continues to be held by Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).

The increase in the foundry business was attributed to the restocking of inventory by customers, along with the increased demand of smartphones, in which wafers for advanced technology are required. In the second half of 2012, foundries performed better than the seasonal norm due to the need of 40 nm wafers as a result of the unexpected fast rise of low-cost smartphones in China and other emerging countries. Those foundries with sufficient wafer capacity and a good yield of 40 nm and 28 nm technologies have achieved solid revenue growth.