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Samsung closes in on Intel for chip market leadership

According to revealing IHS iSuppli (www.ihs.com) market research of the semiconductor industry, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in 2010 came closer to challenging Intel Corp.'s chip market leadership than any company had in more than a decade.


The newly released final market share rankings for 2010 show No. 2-ranked Samsung held 9.2% share of global chip revenue, up from 7.6% in 2009. This put the South Korean electronics giant a mere 4.1 percentage points behind perennial market leader Intel of the U.S.

"The rise of Samsung is one of the biggest stories of the last decade in the worldwide semiconductor market," said IHS analyst Dale Ford. "When experts discuss competition for Intel, they almost always focus on Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD). While it is true that AMD is Intel’s major competitor in the microprocessing unit (MPU) market, Samsung is the primary rival of Intel for overall semiconductor market share. And although they are mainly indirect competitors in the marketplace, Intel and Samsung have been ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, for a number of years."

In 2001 Intel’s market share at 14.9% was >3x that of Samsung at 3.9%; Samsung ranked fifth then.

Since that time, Intel’s market share has ranged between 11.9% and 14.8%. Meanwhile, Samsung has seen its revenues grow by 355% from 2001 to 2010, allowing the company to expand market share and raise its ranking.

Samsung’s strong performance in 2010 was driven by booming sales of its main semiconductor product: memory ICs.

Among the major semiconductor categories, memory ICs had the strongest growth at 52.4%. In comparison, the next fastest-rising area was sensors and actuators at 35.5%, followed by discretes at 34.5%.

The biggest growth driver in the memory segment in 2010 was dynamic random access memory (DRAM), which enjoyed 75.0% expansion. The other major segment of the memory market, NAND flash, grew 38.6% for the year.

For Samsung, given its position as the world’s leading supplier of DRAM and NAND, the company’s 59.1% rise in semiconductor revenue during 2010 meant it massively outperformed the overall semiconductor industry. Worldwide semiconductor revenue amounted to US$304.1 billion in 2010, up 32.1% from US$230.2 billion in 2009, according to the final IHS iSuppli 2010 semiconductor revenue ranking.

The full ranking and report can be found at http://ow.ly/4RwK0.


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