Defying growing competition from newcomers, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) further strengthened its position as the world’s No. 1 contract chip manufacturing company by increasing its market share to 48.8 percent last year, a report from market researcher Gartner Inc showed yesterday.
In 2010, TSMC held a market share of 47.1 percent, according to Gartner. TSMC’s revenue expanded 9 percent annually last year to US$14.53 billion, outpacing the contract chip making industry’s 5 percent growth.
Samsung advanced one rank to No. 9 last year, with significant revenue growth of 20.5 percent year-on-year to US$470 million, according to Gartner’s tally.
If the estimated US$1 billion -Apple wafer business is included as part of Samsung’s contract manufacturing business, the South Korean firm would rank No. 4, Gartner said.
Another newcomer, GlobalFoundries, the contract chip manufacturer that was spun off from Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) in 2009, last year closed the gap with Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) by posting revenue of US$3.58 billion last year, up 1.7 percent from a year earlier.
UMC saw its revenue fall 5.8 percent to US$3.6 billion, maintaining its second spot with a slim lead over GlobalFoundries.
Gartner also said that Taiwan’s Powerchip Technology Corp (力晶科技) had made great strides in the contract chip manufacturing industry, rising to No. 10 last year from No. 19 in 2010, with revenue nearly tripling from one year ago to US$431 million, after shifting focus from the DRAM business early last year.
Last year, overall contract manufacturing business expanded 5.1 percent, from US$28.31 billion in 2010 to US$29.8 billion, driven by demand for advanced technology for mobile devices, Gartner said.
“Demand is expected to remain high for the next few years,” Gartner research director Samuel Tuan Wang (王端) said.
“Thanks to stable media tablet and mobile phone sales, a slide in semiconductor and foundry revenue in 2011 was prevented,” Wang added.
The industry remained relatively flat last year because of weak demand for PCs and consumer electronics, after 40.5 percent annual growth in 2010, he said, adding that a drastic decline in the US dollar also helped offset the adverse impact of supply disruption caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and flooding in Thailand.
Without that, the industry would have achieved just 0.7 percent year-on-year growth in revenue last year, the researcher said.
The utilization rate of contract chipmakers fell to 81 percent last year from 91 percent in 2010, because an aggressive expansion in capital spending during 2010 and last year caused oversupply, Wang said.