ARM forecasts double-digit growth

FULL STEAM AHEAD::The firm, which designs chips used in iPhones and iPads, says the growth will be driven by smartphone and tablet demand in emerging markets

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Mar 15, 2013 - Page 13

ARM Holdings Inc, which designs chips used in Apple Inc’s iPhones and iPads, expects shipments of devices equipped with ARM-based chips to grow by double-digit percentages in the Asia-Pacific region this year, driven primarily by emerging market demand for smartphones and tablets, a company executive said yesterday.

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for 51 percent of ARM’s revenue last year, with the biggest portion coming from China and Taiwan, the UK company said.

“We believe this year will continue to have high growth,” ARM Greater China president Allen Wu (吳雄昂) told a media briefing yesterday in Taipei.

“We expect a double-digit percentage growth from ARM’s customers in the region from the perspective of volume shipments,” Wu said.

Last year, ARM’s partners in the Asia-Pacific region shipped about 2 billion units of products powered by ARM-based chips, Wu said.

China grew at a even faster pace, he said. Shipments of devices powered by ARM chips expanded to 800 million units last year, from 30 million units five years ago, he said.

However, 80 percent of those devices powered by ARM-based chips were shipped overseas, mostly to emerging markets, such as India and Brazil, rather than for domestic demand in China, Wu said.

Smartphones and tablets would continue to be the main forces driving demand from emerging regions, he said.

Shipment of tablets running ARM-based chips from ARM’s partners in the Asia-Pacific region will grow between 50 and 60 percent annually, while shipments of ARM-based smartphones will grow between 30 percent and 50 percent, Wu said.

ARM’s clients include China’s Huawei Technology (華為), ZTE (中興), Spreadtrum Communications Inc (展訊) and Taiwan’s MediaTek Inc (聯發科).

“Emerging regions are playing a dominant role in the tablet and smartphone market,” Wu said.

On Wednesday, Bank of America Merrill Lynch head of global semiconductor research Dan Heyler said at a technology conference in Taipei that increasing demand in emerging markets and China for low-power chips licensed by ARM Holdings is expected to generate double-digit growth for the global chip sector this year and next year.

Heyler forecast the global logic IC market would grow between 12 and 14 percent this year and next year based on strong demand for connected devices.

Additional reporting by CNA