Qualcomm Inc, the world’s largest smartphone chipmaker, on Wednesday said that it is struggling to meet demand, signaling that a global semiconductor shortage is spreading.
“The shortage in the semiconductor industry is across the board,” incoming chief executive officer Cristiano Amon said.
Like most chipmakers, Qualcomm outsources production to companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) and Samsung Electronics Co, which are struggling to fill a vigorous rebound in demand.
The auto sector has complained about the shortage, but Qualcomm’s comments show the problems are broader.
Amon said that orders for chips that run computers, vehicles and many other Internet-connected devices are swamping the industry, which mostly relies on just a handful of factories in Asia.
Supply should improve in the second half of this year, he added.
Qualcomm also reported quarterly results and gave an upbeat forecast. In its fiscal first quarter, the company’s revenue was US$8.24 billion, a gain of 62 percent from a year earlier.
Analysts, on average, projected US$8.25 billion. Net income was US$2.12 a share. Excluding certain items, profit was US$2.17 a share, compared with analysts’ average estimate of US$2.09.
However, that did not satisfy some analysts and investors who have become more bullish on Qualcomm recently.
Outgoing CEO Steve Mollenkopf said that Qualcomm’s performance was curbed by supply constraints. Amon is to succeed Mollenkopf, who is to retire in June.
Apple Inc, a major Qualcomm customer, last week said that sales of high-end iPhone 12 models were limited by the availability of some components.
Earlier on Wednesday, General Motors Co said that a global semiconductor shortage would reduce production this year, as it plans downtime at three plants.
Qualcomm is the biggest maker of chips that connect smartphones to wireless networks and also supplies processors that give the devices their computer-like capabilities. With customers including Apple and Samsung, the company’s projections are a closely watched indicator of the health of the mobile phone market.
“Semiconductors are needed more than ever,” Infineon Technologies AG chief executive Reinhard Ploss said yesterday. “We are monitoring ongoing risks closely.”
Infineon said that first-quarter revenue was particularly strong in the auto segment, and that it expects second-quarter revenue of 2.5 billion to 2.8 billion euros (US$3 billion to US$3.4 billion).
The German semiconductor manufacturer forecast full-year revenue of about 10.8 billion euros, topping estimates and above the previous outlook of 10.5 billion euros.
“In view of dynamic ordering momentum and manufacturing plants running at good utilization rates in the majority of product areas, we are making a slight upward adjustment to our outlook for the full year,” Ploss said in a statement.
Analysts expect Infineon to continue benefiting from its strong presence in automotive chips as electric vehicles gain market share, and manufacturers roll out more hybrid and electric models.
Other trends seen boosting Infineon include the shift to work-from-home, gaming and 5G, Goldman Sachs Group Inc analyst Alexander Duval said.
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