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Surging memory markets shake up top 20 IC vendors

May 28, 2010 // Dylan McGrath, EE

Surging memory markets shake up top 20 IC vendors

Ten of the top 20 semiconductor vendors as ranked by sales changed positions in the first quarter, with surging markets for DRAM and NAND flash memory largely responsible for shaking up the rankings, according to a report from market research firm IC Insights Inc.

Toshiba Corp., Hynix Semiconductor Inc., Micron Technology Inc. and
Elpida Memory Inc. all moved up at least one position in the
rankings — with Elpida jumping up six spots in the tenth position,
according to the May update from IC Insights' McLean Report.

Meanwhile, perennial No. 2 ranked chip vendor Samsung Electronics Co.
Ltd. is on pace to exceed $30 billion in semiconductor sales in 2010,
according to the report. IC Insights (Scottsdale, Ariz.) said it
believes Samsung (Seoul, South Korea) could register as much as 50
percent growth in IC sales this year.

Samsung said earlier this month it would increase semiconductor capital
spending to about $9.6 billion. At this level, Samsung would be
responsible for roughly 22 percent of total global semiconductor
capital expenditures, IC Insights estimates, as much as fellow big
spenders Intel Corp. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC)

Though the merger between Renesas and NEC to create Renesas Electronics
Corp. was not consummated until April 1, IC Insights combined their
pre-merger sales to rank the company sixth overall among chip vendors.
But given the strong performances expected this year from TSMC in
foundry and Hynix in memory, IC Insights predicted that Renesas would
drop to the seventh position for the full year 2010.
Companies that slid in the first quarter rankings including Qualcomm
Inc., which slide to 12 from eighth, and Fujitsu Ltd., which fell out
of the top 20 (ranked 21) after being 19 in the fourth quarter of 2009,
IC Insights said.
Saying the first quarter is always seasonally slow for cellphones
chips, IC Insights said it expects a strong rebound by Qualcomm in the
remainder of the year. But the firm said that with Fujitsu undergoing
reorganization it would likely stay out of the top 20 for the near

The March update to the McClean report, offered for sale by IC Insights
through its website, includes upgraded forecasts for worldwide GDP, PC
and cellphone sales for 2010.

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