Leading semiconductor suppliers offering memory and wireless devices dramatically outperformed firms focused on other products in 2004, according to final annual semiconductor rankings from iSuppli Corp.'s Competitive Landscaping Tool (CLT) service.
Top semiconductor suppliers that derive much or most of their revenue from sales of memory chips, i.e. Samsung, Infineon, AMD/Spansion and Hynix, expanded their revenue by rates ranging from 29.1 to 58 percent in 2004. Others -- including Texas Instruments, STMicroelectronics, Infineon, Philips Semiconductors, Freescale Semiconductor, Qualcomm, Analog Devices and Sharp Electronics -- received major boosts in revenue due to their participation in the wireless market.
Sales of memory chips surged by 43.5 percent in 2004 as DRAM prices remained strong and demand boomed for flash devices used in wireless and consumer-electronics applications. Meanwhile, due to the continuing boom in mobile phone sales, wireless represented the fastest-growing application market for semiconductors in 2004, with revenues growing by 31.2 percent for the year.
This marks the second consecutive year that semiconductor suppliers in the memory and wireless market segments achieved the highest growth rates among top chip suppliers.
Samsung in a League of its Own
Among the top semiconductor suppliers, number-two-ranked Samsung continues to pursue a growth path that seems almost disconnected from the rest of the semiconductor market. Samsung's 58 percent growth in 2004 tops even its amazing 43.1 percent expansion in 2002.
Even when Samsung's performance is measured in comparison only to those semiconductor market segments where it participates, its performance is still amazing. Revenue growth in 2004 for the aggregated markets where Samsung competes was 27 percent. Samsung's growth in 2004 was more than double this number.