Global semiconductor revenue grew just by 0.9 percent from 2010 to reach $302 billion in 2011, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. Despite a strong start to the year, fears about the economy slowed equipment and semiconductor orders in 2011.
Meanwhile, Intel continued to be the largest by sales, a position it is holding on to for the 20th consecutive year.
"The industry did well in the early part of the year, in many cases entering the year with backlog from an exuberant 2010. But uncertainty about the state of the macro economy set in at the midpoint of the year. Consumers held off purchases, and infrastructure expansion plans languished as governments resisted assuming more debt. Equipment inventories began to build as the year progressed, with resulting ripples throughout the semiconductor industry," said Stephan Ohr, semiconductor research director at Gartner.
In 2011, Intel held a share of 16.9 percent, seeing strong growth in the first half of the year as the PC market stocked up inventory in anticipation of a strong second half of the year. Intel's 2011 revenue includes the wireless business unit bought from Infineon in the first quarter of the year, a transaction worth about $1.4 billion to Intel's revenue in 2011.
Samsung Electronics, next in line to Intel, saw its revenue grow slightly above the industry average despite its exposure to the declining DRAM market. Samsung's NAND business saw healthy revenue growth, but this was broadly in line with the overall NAND market growth.
Texas Instruments, in the No. 3 position, has arguably the strongest manufacturing capability in the analog semiconductor industry — a consequence of acquisitions made in 2010.
As a group, the processor makers — Intel, Qualcomm, Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia — outperformed the rest of the industry. Intel's server business grew despite slowdowns in PC production while Qualcomm was carried by ongoing shifts to 4G and LTE mobile services. Nvidia's Tegra platform supported tablet makers hoping to capture some of the enthusiasm associated with tablet PCs.
Memory makers among the top 25 semiconductor suppliers — Hynix, Micron and Elpida — showed revenue declines as a consequence of DRAM price declines and loss of market share in the DRAM space.
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