Spreadtrum canes ST-E

The contrasting fortunes of Spreadtrum and ST-Ericsson are pointed up in IC Insights’ ratings for the 2011 fabless semiconductor industry.

‘China-based Spreadtrum was the star performer among the fabless IC producers last year, logging an amazing 95% sales jump,’ says IC Insights, ‘ Spreadtrum supplies baseband processors and highly integrated CMOS RF transceivers for wireless applications with over 90% of its sales to China-based customers. Spreadtrum has risen from being ranked as the 67th largest fabless IC supplier in 2009 to 17th in 2011, a jump of 50 spots in only two years!’

‘Spreadtrum and ST-Ericsson are both heavily involved in the cellphone marketplace,’ adds IC Insights, ‘in contrast to Spreadtrum, ST-Ericsson’s IC sales dropped 28% in 2011 after declining by 9% in 2010. The difficult times at the company led to a restructuring in March of 2012 and it is rumoured that this was a prelude to eventually putting the company up for sale.’

US-based companies took eight of the top ten places in the fabless rankings.

Combined, the top 25 fabless IC suppliers represented 80% of the $64.9bn in fabless IC sales last year, up 4 percentage points from 2010.

15 of the top 25 fabless IC companies outperformed the total 2011 fabless IC sales growth rate of 4%.

8 fabless companies registered double-digit increases in IC sales last year.

Last year was the first year on record that total fabless IC company sales growth did not outperform total IC market growth (a 27% increase for fabless IC companies versus a total IC industry growth rate of 33%).

This year, fabless IC suppliers were back on track in 2011 as worldwide fabless company IC sales increased 4% as compared to total IC market growth of 1%.

The 8 top-25 fabless IC companies that registered double-digit growth in 2011 had combined sales of $20.1bn – up 29% from their combined sales of $15.6bn in 2010.

Overall, these top eight performers increased their combined sales by $4.5bn last year as compared to a $2.4bn increase for total fabless IC company sales in 2011.

It is obvious that these eight companies are now prime targets for the foundries, says IC Insights.

The Top Ten Fabless Companies in 2011.

Qualcomm   9.9

Broadcom    7.2

AMD           6.6

Nvidia          3.9

Marvell        3.4

MediaTek    3.0

Xilinx            2.3

Altera           2.1

LSI               2.0

Avago          1.3

Top Ten Fastest Growing Fabless Companies

Spreadtrum   95

Dialog           77

Qualcomm    38

MegaChips    35

LSI                 26

MStar             15

Avago             13

Nvidia             10

HiSilicon           9

Semtech           9

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