Wed, Mar 14, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Global semiconductor sales to hit US$316bn: Gartner

By Amy Su  /  Staff Reporter

Global semiconductor revenues are expected to total US$316 billion this year, up 4 percent from a year earlier, market researcher Gartner Inc said yesterday.

The outlook was up from the 2.2 percent growth forecast Gartner made in the fourth quarter of last year.

“The semiconductor industry is poised for a rebound starting in the second quarter of 2012,” Gartner’s vice president of research Bryan Lewis said in a statement. “The inventory correction is expected to conclude this quarter, as foundry utilization rates are bottoming out, and the economic outlook is stabilizing.”

In the memory sector, Gartner said it expects DRAM pricing to improve beginning in the second quarter after Japan’s Elpida Memory Inc filed for bankruptcy protection.

That means the DRAM market will show a slight annual increase of 0.9 percent in revenue this year, after being the worst performing market last year, it said.

However, NAND flash memory is expected to be one of the fastest-growing markets in the sector this year, with revenue growing 18 percent from the previous year amid a strong increase in mobile consumer devices and solid-state drives.

Semiconductor revenue from media tablets will reach US$9.5 billion this year, as media tablet unit production is forecast to increase 78 percent this year from a year earlier, Gartner said, adding that products such as quad-core processors and higher-resolution displays would show the strongest momentum this year.

PC unit production is projected to increase 4.7 percent this year, bringing up semiconductor revenue in the PC sector to US$57.8 billion, while mobile phone unit production is expected to grow 6.7 percent, with semiconductor revenue for mobile phones totaling US$57.2 billion this year.

Gartner said further innovation in these two sectors focusing on location and context would require advances in sensing, processing, displays, connectivity and power efficiency.

Although this year is expected to be a reasonably strong year for the semiconductor industry if the macroeconomic outlook stays in check, Lewis said Gartner’s 4 percent growth forecast for this year was made under the assumptions that European debt issues are contained, Iran-Israel tensions stay in check and the Chinese economy maintains solid growth.

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