EETimes.com – AMD jumps into fabless chip company ranking

EETimes.com – AMD jumps into fabless chip company ranking.

LONDON — Only seven fabless chip companies out of the top 25 managed to grow their revenue in 2009, according to market research company IC Insights Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz.). However, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) jumped into the rankings at number two, courtesy of its divestment of its manufacturing to GlobalFoundries.The six growth companies were number one ranked Qualcomm, MediaTek, RealTek, MStar, Atheros, Silicon Labs and RickTek, which jumped into the ranking at position 24 (see table).


Click on image to enlarge.

IC Insights considers a company fabless when it receives the majority of its finished wafer supply from IC foundries and in this ranking is tracking only IC sales and does not include optoelectronic, sensor, or discrete semiconductor revenues.

There were nine fabless IC companies in 2009 that had sales of $1.0 billion or more. IC Insights has included all of AMD’s 2009 sales although the spin-off occurred late in Q1 2009.

Not including AMD, the top 10 fabless companies’ sales, in total, declined 4 percent in 2009 while the remainder of the fabless companies’ IC sales dropped 13 percent, reflecting the difficult economic circumstances experienced by almost all chip companies. However, that lesser decline by the top ten means that their share of the total fabless IC sales rose to 65 percent in 2009, up five points from 2007.

As the barriers to entry rise — design costs, reduced access to venture capital — it is expected that the fabless IC supplier listing will continue to mature and become more concentrated, IC Insights said.

Nine out of top 10 fabless IC companies in 2009 are based in the U.S. and there is only one Japanese company in the top 25 (MegaChips). IC Insights said that it does not expect the fabless chip company business model to make progress in Japan but that it does expect more Taiwanese and Chinese companies to break into the top 25.

Cellular phone chip supplier Qualcomm remained the number one fabless IC supplier, registering $6.6 billion in sales in 2009, a 2 percent increase. MediaTek registered a strong 22 percent increase in sales to $3.5 billion.

In 1999, fabless IC company sales accounted for just over 7 percent of the total IC market. In 2009, fabless IC suppliers (including AMD) represented 23 percent of worldwide IC sales, IC Insights said. By 2014, IC Insights forecasts that fabless IC companies will command at least 27 percent of the total IC market.

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