In its projected rankings of the top-10 chip makers in terms of sales for 2005, Intel is expected to be first, followed in order by Samsung, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, STMicroelectronics, Renesas, Infineon, NEC, Hynix and Advanced Micro Devices (including Spansion).
One vendor missing from the top 10 this year is Philips Semiconductor, which held the No. 9 position in 2004. “The Dutch company was pushed out of the top 10 for only the fifth time in the last 25 years,” said Andrew Norwood, an analyst with Gartner/Dataquest, in a report.
“Samsung continues to gain share in the rankings, while Hynix made it into the top-10 for the first time ever,” he said. “Strong growth in the NAND flash market was a recurring theme in the 2005 market share rankings. The continuing strong demand for flash card and USB flash drives in 2005, along with the successful launch of the iPod shuffle by Apple at the start of 2005 and the release later in the year of the iPod nano, will drive this device market to the highest revenue performance in 2005."
Intel Corp. remained the No. 1 vendor in 2005, as its revenue grew 14.3 percent, twice the market average. In the previous three years, Intel's growth rate had been below the market average.
Due in part to the boom in the NAND-based flash market, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. continued to gain share, as it accounted for 7.6 percent of the market in 2005, according to Gartner.
Japan’s Toshiba Corp. and South Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc. also benefited from the demand for NAND. In the NAND flash segment, Hynix's revenue is likely to reach $1.5 billion in 2005, up from $212 million in 2004, an increase of more than 600 percent.
“This success is made more satisfying for Hynix given the financial struggles the company has endured over the last few years,” Norwood said.
Not all vendors did so well, as NEC Electronics Corp. and Infineon Technologies AG underperformed their respective markets. For NEC Electronics, it suffered from intense competition in mobile phone and data processing markets, as well as a more fundamental lack of strategic direction, according to Gartner.
Infineon’s poor performance was due to falling revenue in the communications market because of a decline in demand for its products from struggling BenQ Mobile, which acquired Siemens' mobile phone arm during 2005, according to Gartner.
The traditional boom-and-bust volatility of the semiconductor market is nowhere in sight. Coming from 23.4 percent growth in 2004, growth is expected to be 6.9 percent in 2005, 7.6 percent in 2006, 5.1 percent in 2007, 13.8 percent in 2008, 1.3 percent in 2009, and 4.8 percent in 2010, according to the research firm (see Dec. 6 story).
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